Research cruises with the Coast Guard – collaboration for marine research

In cooperation with the Research Council, the Norwegian Coast Guard provides time onboard its vessels to Norwegian research institutions wishing to carry out field studies at sea as part of a research project.

The opportunity to use a Coast Guard vessel for a research cruise is an important contribution to national and international research. This collaboration was launched in 1991 to meet the need for resources for marine research, and to make use of personnel and available capacity on Coast Guard vessels for research purposes at the same time. The Coast Guard provides valuable support for Norwegian research through these activities.

Since 2017 this collaboration has been organised by a cooperation committee comprised of representatives from the Coast Guard and relevant Research Council programmes: the Polar Research Programme (POLARPROG), the Large-scale Programme on Climate Research (KLIMAFORSK) and the Research Programme on Marine Resources and the Environment (MARINFORSK).

Applying for a research cruise

All Norwegian research institutions are eligible to apply for research cruises.
The purpose of the cruise may include:

  • Routine tasks that can be carried out in parallel with regular Coast Guard duties, e.g. reports from inspected fisheries catches (fish length, weight and age distribution).
  • Specialised field-related needs, such as location and counts of seals, whale counts, and buoy deployment and retrieval. Coast Guard vessels may have the research cruise as their main function for short periods, but will maintain full readiness.

Applications for research cruise time must include:

  • information about the research project involved;
  • information about the individual with primary responsibility for the project;
  • overview of all participating institutions in the project;
  • information about project’s total budget and funding plan;
  • description of objectives and anticipated benefits;
  • information about the extent to which project results will be publicly accessible;
  • attachment listing internal priorities in cases where an institution is submitting multiple applications.

Each application for a research cruise should also include information about:

  • any equipment/materials planned to be taken aboard the vessel, including equipment weight and volume;
  • number of persons planned to be taken aboard during the research cruise;
  • geographic area and time period for the research cruise.

Assessment criteria and guidelines

The Research Council and the Coast Guard may set guidelines for coordination/collaboration between projects in order to take full advantage of capacity, for instance whether it is possible to cover multiple research cruises within roughly the same time period, or whether several projects can carry out activities simultaneously.

Research cruise time granted will generally be based on available Coast Guard capacity. Thus the Research Council’s prioritisation may deviate from the time allocation. The field time granted may also differ from the time period sought.

When ranking multiple projects competing for the same research cruise time, importance may be attached to the following:

  • research cruises that are in connection with projects dependent on the field time to be carried out;
  • research cruises that are part of projects funded by the Research Council and have thus been assessed for quality;
  • research cruises that continue a series previously granted cruise time as part of a multi-year project;
  • research cruises that are relevant for the public authorities and entail significant benefits for society;
  • research cruises that contribute to researcher training and recruitment;
  • research cruises of high international importance;
  • the applicant’s own prioritisation of the research cruise in question (when applying for multiple cruises).

Administrative procedures

Applications will be processed by the Research Council Division for Resource Industries and the Environment. Scientific advisors assist the Coast Guard in selecting and ranking applications for field time. The Coast Guard is responsible for the final decisions regarding granting of field time, based on recommendations submitted by the Research Council administration.

The administration may submit applications to an international referee panel or individual external referees for review.

Projects selected by the Coast Guard to receive field time are to be further planned in direct cooperation between the researchers and the Coast Guard.

Application submission deadline and contact information

Written applications for research cruise time with the Coast Guard are to be submitted and marked:
“Research cruises with the Coast Guard – collaboration for marine research”
Attn: Secretariat at the Research Council of Norway

Contact person: Marius Omland, email:
Application submission deadline: 15 September of each year.

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