School of Marine Science and Technology | Research Grants

Recent Research Grants Awarded



Sailing Fluids: An EU - New Zealand Research Collaboration to Develop Synergies and Make Cutting-edge Breakthroughs in Yacht Engineering

Dr Ignazio Maria Viola has been recently awarded a collaborative research grant within the scheme FP7-PEOPLE-IRSES worth €155,000. The project will start in September 2012 and will last for four years.

The project aims at strengthening a research partnership through staff exchanges and networking activities between two European research organisations and a research organisation in New Zealand. The experienced senior researchers involved in the present proposal are members of global leading research groups in the fluid dynamics of sailing yachts. These research groups are:

1. The Yacht and Superyacht Research Group (UNEW)
2. The Yacht Research Unit (UOA)
3. The Fluid Mechanics and Energy Research Group (ECONAV)

The three research groups involved perform research, teach, and deliver consultancies in the field of fluid dynamics applied to sailing yachts. All of these three groups have specialist expertise, laboratories, and numerical modelling tools, which are complementary to the other two groups. The project will allow long-term collaborations between these three groups; it will be highly and equally beneficial to each of them in terms of knowledge transfer and it will allow developing new collaborative cutting edge research. Also, these three global leading research groups aim to create an international association of yacht engineers, which will promote and coordinate networking and activities for the promotion of research outcomes in the fluid dynamics of yachts. This will enhance the impact of the research in the yacht industry, and will facilitate the transformation of the research outcomes into technological innovations.

The objectives of the proposal are as follows:

1. Gain new breakthroughs in the fluid dynamics of yachts through the synergy of collaborative research effort (i.e. submitting joint research proposals, performing joint research and writing joint high-impact journal papers);

2. Enhance the expertise of the participants through the knowledge transfer of their complementary specialist expertise (performing joint research, organising training sessions, workshops and seminars);

3. Enhance the impact of the research on the yacht industry and facilitate the transformation of research outcomes into technological innovations (i.e. creating an international association that highlights, promotes and coordinates networking activities, such as, international conferences, workshops and professional development courses);

4. Enhance the cross-fertilisation of valuable knowledge in the area of expertise of the participants into different engineering fields (organising networking activities between academic centres of excellence and leading industrial companies);


2012-2015: "What is the surfactant control of air-sea gas exchange across contrasting biogeochemical regimes?"

Leverhulme Trust: £138,554

PI: Prof. R.C. Upstill-Goddard.

"Air-sea gas exchange, the product of an air-sea gas concentration difference and a gas transfer velocity (k), is an important agent of global change. However, uncertainty over k and what controls its variability seriously impedes progress, for example in deriving accurate CO2 air-sea flux climatologies that are required for global models and climate policy. Improved k parameterisations involving important geophysical controls are thus clearly needed. One such control is the effect of biological surfactants deriving from phytoplankton but this is surprisingly poorly studied in the field. Available in situ and laboratory data typically show 20-60% suppression of k by surfactant. Due to their phytoplankton origin seawater surfactants correlate with primary productivity measures and hence generally decrease with distance offshore. Surfactant gradients and seasonality both in coastal waters and across ocean basins ovshould therefore be expected to impact k. We will therefore measure coastal and oceanic spatio-temporal gradients in surfactant, k and related variables to evaluate this variability in k."


2013-2017: RAGNARoCC: Radiatively active gases from the North Atlantic Region and Climate Change

NERC £125,657 to Newcastle (although the total consortium gets £2 million.)

PI: Prof. R.C. Upstill-Goddard.

This project is a successful NERC consortium bid lead by the University of East Anglia and involving Newcastle University,  The University of Southamptom, The National Oceanography Centre and The Plymouth Marine Laboratory. It will run for 4 years from 2013 with the objecive of understanding how large, and how variable, are sources and sinks of atmospheric greenhouse gases in the North Atlantic. We aim to describe how these have changed in the recent past and how they will change in the future under various climate scenarios. Most effort will concentrate on carbon dioxide; we will deliver comprehensive budgets of natural and anthropogenic components of the carbon cycle in the North Atlantic and evaluate why CO2 air-sea fluxes vary regionally, seasonally and multi-annually. We will additionally estimate regional fluxes of methane and nitrous oxide. In collaboration with partners in Europe and the US, we will determine CO2 air-sea fluxes from networks of voluntary observing ships and at fixed sites. These will be synthesised with observations from hydrographic sections of ocean interior carbon content. We will thus obtain accurate estimates of the uptake, present storage, and net transport of anthropogenic carbon, and variability in the natural uptake and release of atmospheric CO2 by the N. Atlantic. In parallel we will develop forward and inverse models (of both atmospheric and oceanic kinds) of these fluxes. Our main hypotheses are (1) past N. Atlantic uptake and variability of CO2 can be quantified by examining the deep Atlantic carbon inventory; (2) currently observed variability in CO2 uptake reflects a combination of biological and physical processes driven by climatic variations, the main factors being captured by ocean carbon simulations embedded in climate models; (3) these variations (past, present and future) are due to a combination of variability internal to the climate system and external anthropogenic forcing - in proportions we will determine. Objectives are: (1) a template for operational forecasting of the fluxes of GHGs into and out of the N. Atlantic, to be implemented as part of ICOS and in combination with ECMWF; (2) an understanding of that sink that will improve projections of future changes in the ocean CO2 sink; (3) a quantitative understanding of how and why Atlantic Ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 has changed as a result of climate change over the last 100 years.