Get on board

Research Vessel (RV) Investigator offers a flexible platform for marine and atmospheric research from ice edge to equator.

Find out how to apply for sea time, explore the different streams of access, view the MNF Operational Rolling Plan 2021 or prepare yourself for joining a voyage.

Applications for sea time: 2021 Primary application call has closed

The 2021 call for Primary applications for sea time on RV Investigator has now closed

The application period was open from 15 February to 30 June 2021.

Applications received will be reviewed and competitively assessed. Projects awarded grants of sea time will be used to build the Primary Voyage Schedule of research vessel (RV) Investigator for the period of January 2023 to June 2024.

The 2021 application process used the new online Marine Application and Planning System (MAPS). This was one of the key improvements implemented under the MNF 2030 strategy.

The Marine National Facility (MNF) offers Australian researchers and their international collaborators the opportunity to apply for fully funded grants of sea time on RV Investigator to conduct research of national benefit. Applications can be made through Primary, Supplementary or Piggyback application pathways.

Where will RV Investigator take your research?

Australia has a vast and valuable marine estate rich in diversity and resources. But we still know very little about it. The Marine National Facility provides Australia with a world-class resource to enable marine research for national benefit. So how can you get your research on board?

Let’s look at the application process and follow the streams that can take your science out to sea.

Each year, fully funded grants of sea time are offered on Australia’s ocean research vessel Investigator via a competitive application process.

Applications can be made by researchers employed by Australian research organisations. Collaborators from overseas research organisations can also be included.

Applying for sea time is easy via our online Marine Application and Planning System – MAPS – accessed via our website. Create your MAPS account to: enter, save, review and submit applications, and plan your voyage, if awarded sea time.

To apply, you will need to pick one of five streams of access. These streams ensure that we deliver a broad range of research to meet the needs of our users and for the greatest national benefit. Let’s dive into each stream.

Stream 1 is for policy-driven research, projects that address national research priorities, which will be set every three years in consultation with relevant government agencies and end-users. Research priorities are listed in the MNF Operations Rolling Plan, released annually when the application call is made.

Stream 2 is for discipline-driven research including fundamental and frontier research. This stream is for projects that advance scientific knowledge without directly addressing policy-driven priorities from Stream 1.

Stream 3 is for strategic partnerships. This stream supports nationally funded research programs that need regular and repeated access to our capabilities to collect long time-series data and samples.

Stream 4 is for technology and innovation projects. This stream supports the development of innnovative technologies that seek to advance our national research capability and our marine industries.

Stream 5 is for user-funded projects. This stream provides access to our capabilities for industry and other groups to conduct research of national benefit.

Revenue from user-funded projects is reinvested back into the Marine National Facility for the benefit of all its users.  

Regardless of stream, all applications are assessed against two merit principles: Research Quality and Research Benefit.

This assessment is made by two independent commitees: the Research Advisory Committee and the National Benefit Advisory Committee, with help from expert external assessors. Applications are scored and used to build a Primary Voyage Schedule,  which is reviewed by our Steering Committee. Successful applicants will then be offered a grant of sea time.

Every step of the way, from application to voyage, the Marine National Facility is here to help. Contact us to discuss how to get your science out to sea.

Explore the Streams that can take your science out to sea

Under the MNF 2030 strategy, five Streams have been introduced to access sea time on RV Investigator. The Streams seek to better support the diverse needs and demand from our research community and deliver the greatest benefit for the nation.

Watch this video to find out more about the application process for sea time on RV Investigator and discover the Stream that will take your science out to sea!