National Research Vessel Task Team

The availability of research vessels is critical for the ability of Canadian scientists, across all disciplines, to explore and monitor, observe and understand our country’s marine environment and vast ocean spaces. This capacity has been diminishing for decades despite a growing need for scientific information about our ocean environment.

MEOPAR, as a Network of Centres of Excellence which funds research, trains students, mobilizes knowledge and communicates results in the area of marine risk and resilience all across Canada, is very conscious of this problem. MEOPAR does not own or operate vessels of its own. We believe this allows the Network to take an objective view on what has now become a crisis for Canada’s ability to research, explore and monitor our vast ocean spaces. MEOPAR recently supported a multisectoral Task Team to examine the vessel situation for Atlantic Canada’s offshore environment. Based on this report, we concluded that a national, multisectoral dialogue is required to address this issue across the country. Such a discussion, motivated by the present very difficult situation, may uncover new opportunities for the provision of research vessel capacity that are efficient and cost-effective.

We are therefore in the process of establishing a National Research Vessel Task Team to collate and examine needs and opportunities across the country and provide advice on ways forward. We intend this to be a national dialogue where interests, needs and capacities of different disciplines and sectors (industry, government, funding agencies and academia), and different parts of the country, can be considered together, and where new ways of providing and supporting this important research capacity can be discussed and evaluated.

For more information, please see below or feel free to contact the co-chairs of the National Research Vessel Task Team, Doug Wallace ( and Doug Bancroft (

National Research Vessel Task Team Membership

National Research Vessel Task Team Terms of Reference  – last updated September 2019

Meetings and Events – more information to come

Links – National and International: 


Amundsen Science
Coast Guard 

Arctic Research Foundation 

Leeway Marine
Superport Marine

European Union – UNOLS
European Union – European Marine Board 
USA – Scmidt Ocean

Read more:
Assessment of Needs and Opportunities for Research Vessel Use in Atlantic Canada – published by MEOPAR

A New Option for at Sea Canadian Ocean Science? – published in the CMOS Bulletin (October 2017)

Modular Ocean Research Infrastructure (MORI): A Flexible, Scalable and Affordable Approach to Ocean-going Research in Canada and Worldwide -published in the CMOS Bulletin (March 2020)

Next Generation – European Research Vessels – Current Status and Foreseeable Evolution – published by the European Marine Board

Photo by Laura Dalman