The document provides an overview of the past year, a brief description of how IMOS works, and a selection of science highlights illustrating the many ways in which our research infrastructure is being used for the benefit of Australians.
Five years ago, the Board approved a decadal strategy (2015-25) setting out a bold vision for IMOS. That by 2025, Australia would have a continuously growing time series of essential ocean variables for marine and coastal environments. A system that would enable cutting edge research on contemporary problems, and provide a scientific basis for informed decision making about Australia’s vast and valuable marine estate.
In pursuit of this vision, the IMOS community has successfully built a world class research infrastructure. We have used it very well to date, as evidenced in this 2017-18 Annual Highlights document, and those of previous years.
The ongoing need for IMOS has just been reinforced by the Australian Government, with significant, ongoing funding over the medium to long term. The Federal Budget handed down on 8th May 2018 was a watershed moment in the history of IMOS.
Funding is now secure to 2023, with strong prospects out to 2029 under the Australian Government’s investment of an additional $1.9 billion (over 12 years) in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).
At the end of 2017-18, we can therefore be very confident that the Board’s 2025 vision is being, and will be achieved.
IMOS functions within the broader national research infrastructure landscape, and it was also pleasing to see additional funding in the Federal Budget for the Marine National Facility (MNF) to fully utilise the research vessel Investigator. IMOS and MNF work closely together, and the combination of these investments is great news for Australian marine and climate science.
In this document, we highlight annual science impacts from IMOS infrastructure in four sections - broadscale, backbone, regional and national.
The power of turning broadscale observations into big datasets that validate and reduce uncertainties in ocean remote sensing, modelling and forecasting is highlighted. Collaboration is fundamental to our success but particularly at this scale, and IMOS has become a trusted partner in the national and international programs featured here, as well as in many others.
A key challenge for a national research infrastructure is deciding how to facilitate use and impact at national scale, while managing community pressure to do ‘everything, everywhere’. Backbone facilities are providing an increasingly effective mechanism for IMOS to drive national scale use and impact. The examples highlighted here demonstrate how IMOS strategic investments in marine observing and data infrastructure are scaling up and connecting excellent activities underway at regional and local levels.
The social, cultural, economic and environmental importance of Australia’s vast marine estate does concentrate in particular regions. IMOS looks to respond to these regional drivers by intensifying its efforts in strategically important locations. The examples highlighted here show how use and impact is being accelerated though this approach.
Highlights from the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) and IMOS OceanCurrent show how sustained investment in national data and product platforms adds even more value to the broadscale, backbone and regional facility investments highlighted above.
All of the achievements of the past year were underpinned by continued, excellent performance of IMOS operating institutions. The program had 235 milestones for the year, of which 91% were achieved and a further 6% in progress at 30 June 2018. An outstanding effort by all of the scientific, engineering, technical and administrative staff involved in running the program on a day to day basis.
We hope you enjoy reading this IMOS Annual Highlights document for 2017-18, and thank you for your continued interest and support.