The NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and the German Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) are going to intensify their collaborative efforts. This was officially ratified by signing a document recording their joint interests by chair of the board of NIOZ Pier Vellinga, NIOZ-director Henk Brinkhuis and AWI-director Karin Lochte.
NIOZ is the national Dutch oceanographic institute. AWI is the German Helmholtz centre that besides conducting marine research, manages the German scientific facilities for polar research, including the Arctic AWIPEV research base, the Antarctic Neumayer station and the icebreaker/ research vessel ‘Polarstern’. By intensifying their collaboration, the two institutes hope to give a new impulse to oceanographic research, in particular in proximity of the Polar Regions.
Ocean research crucial for climate research
Our oceans are under increasing pressure. Climate change, increasing fishing stress and pollution constitute one threat, while intensification of harvesting marine resources (food, energy and raw materials) will continue to exhaust the marine realm. The intensified cooperation between the AWI and NIOZ aims at jointly contributing to fundamental as well as applied research concerning changing oceans and a sustainable use of its resources.
NIOZ conducts fundamental and applied research for over a century to gain insights on estuary, seas and oceans. This knowledge serves to increase our understanding of ‘system Earth’ and help to use its natural resources in a sustainable way. Moreover, the institute facilitates marine research and -education in the rest of the Netherlands and Europe in general. NIOZ has approximately 370 employees, divided over the main branch at Texel, and the additional branch at Yerseke. Since its origin (in 1876, as the ‘Zoological Station’) NIOZ has gained a strong reputation in numerous oceanographic fields, nationally as well as internationally. For its research, the institute has four research vessels at its disposal, including the oceanic ship ‘RV Pelagia’.
AWI (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar- and Marine Research) is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, which is the largest scientific organization in Germany, and conducts fundamental research on the interplay between climate change and ecosystem functioning for more than 30 years. The AWI is home to almost 1,000 employees, divided over more than 30 scientific departments. The major research focus is on the Arctic and Antarctic regions, while at the same time devoting research to the North Sea and Wadden area. The latter areas are well accessible from the biological stations at Helgoland and Sylt. Polar research requires specialized infrastructure like the icebreaker ‘Polarstern’, aircrafts and research stations at the Arctic and Antarctic. AWI coordinates the German Polar research and supplies infrastructure for the international scientific community.
Press Release, November 04, 2013