The Marine National Facility normally conducts an annual national call for applications for research on Investigator. From this call the highest ranked applications are chosen after a rigorous and independent assessment process. This process is overseen by the MNF Steering Committee.
Investigator’s voyage schedule is then prepared. It is normal that not all applications judged to be worthy of sea time will necessarily be selected in the schedule given the limited number of days that the vessel can operate. There are also other factors to consider, for example, sometimes two applicants may want to do research in different regions at the same time.
The aim is to select voyages for a schedule covering the period from July to the following June. The call for applications is made approximately two years prior to the start of the schedule period and is split into a first call and a second call.
The first call for applications, and the selection of the best applicants, will determine where the vessel will sail. This is known as the primary schedule.
Voyages will not always connect together. For example, one voyage ends at one port (e.g. Sydney) and the next starts at another port (e.g. Brisbane). In this case, to connect the two research voyage a transit voyage will be scheduled (e.g. Sydney to Brisbane).
The second call for applications is to fill unused capacity on the research voyages and utilise capacity on the transit voyages. This is known as the Supplementary call. Transit voyages are particularly useful for early-career scientists and students to gain experience and for testing equipment.
Once the second call is completed and the successful applicants chosen, the teams will be offered sea time. When all acceptances are received, the voyage schedule is finalised and published usually twelve months prior to the start of the scheduled period.
Applications for sea time are for research projects supported by research teams or student groups and are not for individuals who wish to go on a voyage. Individual researchers wishing to undertake research on the Investigator should to link up with an existing team.
In developing the voyage schedule, a Chief Scientist will be chosen for each voyage. The Chief Scientist will be responsible for voyage planning, management of the science team(s) on the voyage and post-voyage reporting.
If more than one research team is chosen for a voyage, each will be led by a Lead Principal Investigator and one of the Lead Principal Investigators will usually be chosen as the Chief Scientist to oversee all science projects undertaken on that voyage.
Updated: 27 November 2014