RV Investigator at sea seen from the air

Piggyback projects

There are many reasons why a Principal Investigator may seek to Piggyback work onto an existing voyage. These include data collection from underway instruments, requests to carry out a limited sampling program or to deploy a piece of equipment.

Examining data.

Examining data

Piggyback projects must firstly be supported by the voyage Chief Scientist who has overall responsibility for the science program and managing the associated risks.

With support from the Chief Scientist, within logistical constraints of the voyage the MNF will seek to maximise utilisation of the vessel to support the marine research community where possible.


Primary project

A project granted through the submission of a Primary application for a MNF Granted Voyage.

Supplementary project

A project granted through the submission of a Supplementary application for a MNF Granted Voyage.

Piggyback project

Any project or sub-project that has not been granted time by the MNF Steering Committee through the application for a MNF Granted Voyage or Supplementary application for a MNF Granted Voyage processes.

Which process to use?

Where possible, Principal Investigators with potential Piggyback projects should use the Supplementary application for a MNF Granted Voyage process.


A Piggyback project needs the support of the Chief Scientist to be integrated into the existing science program before it can be considered by the MNF.

The Chief Scientist for the voyage needs to seek approval for any Piggyback through a concise letter to the Operations Manager outlining what is proposed.  The letter needs to include:

  • Purpose
  • Description of proposed work 
  • How it will impact on voyage objectives 
  • Any impact on berth allocation within the existing voyage 
  • Any impact on time allocation within the existing voyage 
  • Support of the piggyback project by the Chief Scientist

Pending approval by the MNF, a Piggyback project will be managed by the Chief Scientist as part of the existing voyage science program and there will be no separate letter of offer from the MNF.

Voyage planning

During the voyage the existing voyage objectives have priority over Piggyback objectives.

Any berths required for a Piggyback project need to be included in the existing berth allocation of the science program.  Additional voyage berths will only be considered after the allocation of Supplementary projects and subject to logistical considerations.

The Chief Scientist cannot allocate berths to a Piggyback project which would compromise the ability to achieve the existing voyage objectives.

No additional voyage time will be made available to accommodate a Piggyback project.  Any allocation of voyage time required needs to be made within the existing voyage.
The Chief Scientist will be responsible for the Piggyback project team including logistical issues, documentation, permits and costs. Any division of costs within the Primary or Supplementary project containing the Piggyback project is a matter for the Chief Scientist and not the MNF.

If there is more than one project team for a voyage and the Piggyback aligns with one team better than another, then the Piggyback can be managed under the most relevant Lead Principal Investigator.  Under these circumstances, the Lead Principal Investigator and the Chief Scientist will both need to support the arrangement.

The Piggyback project needs to be included in the Voyage Plan and Voyage Report.


The Piggyback Principal Investigator will support the Chief Scientist in meeting their reporting obligations.

More information

Please reference the voyage schedules to view upcoming voyages. To check availability for piggyback opportunities, please contact the MNF Science Operations Manager, Matt Kimber, via Phone: (03) 6232 5186 or Email matt.kimber@csiro.au

Updated: 07 May 2019