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 Streams of access or prepare yourself for joining a voyage.

2022 application call information

The Marine National Facility (MNF) offers Australian researchers and their international collaborators the opportunity to apply for fully funded grants of sea time on research vessel (RV) Investigator to conduct research of national benefit.

Applications for grants of sea time on RV Investigator will be invited in early 2022 through Supplementary and Primary Application calls.

Key dates

Supplementary Applications (voyage schedule 2023-24) - CLOSED

  • Call open: 1 February to 3 March 2022
  • Successful applicants are expected to be advised in late April 2022.

Go to Supplementary Applications

Primary Applications (voyage schedule 2024-25) - NO CALL MADE

  • As a result of the COVID pandemic, the need for rescheduling of voyages and the upcoming mid-life refit of RV Investigator, only limited research days remain in the 2024-25 voyage schedule. As such, applications for the 2024-25 voyage schedule will not be invited through a Primary Call.
  • Instead, the MNF will schedule highly ranked voyages that were previously endorsed by the MNF Steering Committee but unable to be accommodated in prior schedules. This will avoid the research community putting in a significant amount of effort to apply for only a small allocation of available days. This approach also provides contingency for impacts from the ongoing and changing nature of COVID.

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!