Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Facility

The Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Facility forms part of the Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Consortium (OBIC) in collaboration with partners at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University.

The OBIC are contracted by the NERC to provide the Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Facility (OBIF), as part of the NERC’s Services & Facilities infrastructure support, as the third operational node of the Geophysical Equipment Facility.


The Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Facility can deliver the following services:

  1. Maintenance of a facility comprising modern and serviceable seabed geophysical instrument platforms suitable for application to a wide range of field-based data acquisition programmes within the earth sciences.
  2. Advice and training in the planning and execution of marine geophysical experiments and the operation of the seabed instrumentation associated therewith.
  3. Support provided on the basis of independently secured funding and tailored to suit individual PIs and science applications.
  4. Equipment scheduling that is compatible with NERC ship time scheduling, but is sufficiently flexible to support acquisition demands at short notice via air freight shipping or service agreements with equivalent other international providers.
  5. De/mobilisation and shipping of equipment to/from ports of call, coupled with professional technical support for equipment operation at sea.
  6. Training of users in equipment use by their incorporation in deployment “teams” for the duration of the acquisition at sea or pre-cruise training embedded in instrument trials cruises.
  7. Long-term archiving of acquired data in raw and standard data formats.
  8. Advice and training on the formatting, archiving, processing and modelling of the resulting data.
  9. Access to data processing and modelling facilities.
  10. Bespoke research and development of equipment to suit specific project specifications.


Applying For OBIF Access Via NERC

  1. Ocean-Bottom Instrument Facility costings cover all aspects of the sea-going operation and associated onshore maintenance, including staff costs. Deployments are costed according to a process agreed with the NERC and the associated funds are not available to the PI, but are released by NERC directly to OBIF as and when required by the Facility to meet its obligations to NERC.
  2. We will provide a quotation which can be included as an attachment to the JeS form. The total cost is included in the section “Other directly incurred costs” but is then notionally awarded rather than passed to the applying institution.


The OBIF operates as PAYG under the NERC Services and Facilities contract. Therefore, Principal Investigators need to contact OBIF (via to get a service quote.


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