Marine research is vital to the understanding and management of both the natural and human environment. The Solent is fortunate to have a number of higher education institutes and research related consultancies located around its shores. Research organisations not only supply knowledge about the Solent, but boost the local economy by providing jobs and income generation from students. They also support other local industries by providing them with technical expertise. Each year the Solent Forum offers a bursary award to students undertaking research in the Solent, its Natural Environment Group also funds research projects that address issues relating to the Solent's Marine Protected Areas.
The UK marine science strategy sets the general direction for future marine science across the UK for the period 2010 to 2025. The Foresight report 'Future of the sea' looks at the important future trends, challenges and opportunities for the UK from the sea.
The three Solent highter education institutes are:
The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (formerly Southampton Oceanography Centre), is a collaborative Centre owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the University of Southampton. NOCS is based at a purpose-built waterside campus in Southampton, and is home to some 520 research scientists, lecturing support and sea-going staff as well over 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
NOCS is one of the world's leading institutions devoted to research, teaching and technology development in ocean and earth science. Its research groups include:
Southampton Solent University is one of the UK's newest universities. It links together student learning, applied research and service to business and the community. The Maritime and Environment department offers courses in environmental and marine studies, port and shipping management and yacht and boat design.
Its Warsash Maritime Academy has provided first class training, consultancy and research to the international shipping and offshore oil industries for over sixty years. The Academy provides certification programmes from cadetships to Class 1 for both deck and engineer officers, short courses to develop skills such as fire fighting and sea survival, and continuing professional development modules for more experienced officers.
The University of Portsmouth was inaugurated in 1992. The former Portsmouth Polytechnic, one of the largest and most successful in the UK, itself grew from the Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science and Arts, founded in 1869.