Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) is the not-for-profit agency responsible for the management of the ONC Observatory, consisting of VENUS, the coastal network, and NEPTUNE Canada, the regional network, on behalf of the University of Victoria (UVic), lead institution for a pan-Canadian consortium of universities, industries and government agencies. It was created by the University in 2007.
The Observatory supports a new generation of coastal and deep ocean research. With a 25+ year operating life cycle, the ONC Observatory enables transformative ocean research and technology development through an innovative cabled infrastructure that supplies continuous power and Internet connectivity to a broad suite of novel subsea instrumentation in coastal and deep-ocean environments. Three cable arrays, together over 900km in length, host several hundred sensors distributed in, on and above the seabed. They are strategically located to address key scientific and policy issues (subsea earthquakes and tsunamis, ocean acidification, marine biodiversity, etc) within a wide range of environments (fiord, delta, and open coastal settings, continental slope, abyssal plain, and ocean-spreading ridge).
The observatory has over 65 scientific, technical and management staff supporting a national and international community of hundreds of researchers and end-users drawn from the academic, government and private sectors. Given the highly specialized nature of the subsea and communications infrastructure, the combined expertise of this group is unique in Canada.
Additional evidence of the scope and scale of the ONC Observatory are the commercial and outreach programs which are separately funded through the ONC Centre of Excellence for Enterprise and Engagement, a federal CECR, one of the few related to environmental science and technology, and the only one focused on ocean research and development.
The purposes of Ocean Networks Canada are:
- To provide governance and management for the ONC Observatory and those programs established to develop its research capacity and impact;
- To secure funding from research agencies, government, and other sources to sustain and enhance the research capacity of the observatory and the associated benefits for Canada;
- To establish relationships with federal and provincial government departments and ministries to expedite knowledge translation for the purpose of informing ocean-related public policy;
- To create opportunities for the commercial development of technologies through collaborations with private and public sector partners;
- To develop and disseminate public education and engagement initiatives related to the observatory research;
- To support other related research and its applications to enhance oceans research capacity in Canada;
- To collaborate with other national and international research organizations with similar interests and goals.