We are an independent science programme examining the effects of man-made structures on the ecology of the North Sea

The INSITE Programme was launched in 2014, with the aim of providing stakeholders with the independent scientific evidence-base needed to better understand the influence of man-made structures on the ecosystem of the North Sea.

The first INSITE Call for Proposals led to a Phase 1 research programme consisting of nine projects that concluded in 2017. In 2018, Phase 2 of INSITE was developed in partnership with NERC. NERC launched its INSITE Call for Proposals in 2019 and in April 2020 awarded around £5Million in grants to seven projects addressing the three Challenges in the NERC Announcement of Opportunity.

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INSITES Into - Webinars and Podcasts

In 2023, the Programme is sharing insights arising from the most recent research (phase two projects 2019-23) through a series of webinars held throughout the year.

Each of the webinars in this INSITE Webinar Series focuses on six impact themes identified by stakeholders. These are ‘Marine biodiversity’, ‘Environmental Restoration / Net Gain’, ‘Marine monitoring’, ‘Offshore wind deployment’, ‘Commercial fishing’ and ‘Cumulative effects assessment’.

All webinars will be available to join as a livestream and later to view as a recording.

INSITES Into - 03 Offshore Wind 25th May 2023

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INSITES Into - 02 Environmental Restoration & Net Gain

The second event in INSITE Webinar Series ‘Environmental Restoration and Net Gain’ recorded on the 18th April 2023 discusses how ecosystem services and functions potentially provided by marine species associated with man-made structures may contribute to environmental restoration, and explored opportunities for better understanding of ‘Net Gain’ at sea.

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INSITES Into - 01 Marine Biodiversity

Recorded in February, we welcomed panelists< Professor Jo Porter, Heriot Watt University, Dr Paul Somerfield Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Professor

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Three scientific challenges underpin the ongoing programme of INSITE research, these are:


Changes in the ecosystem which occur due to the placement of man-made structures in the marine environment or as a consequence of their removal


Comparisons between the ecosystem structure and function on native and nonnative hard substrate


Variability in ecosystem structure and function on man-made structures against varying temporal scales


INSITE research is led by researchers at some of the UK's leading universities and specialist marine science laboratories

Surrounded by a rich and diverse marine habitat, the UK research and academic community has long been recognised for its world leading contributions across all marine science disciplines.

xxCambridge University

Featured Projects

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Application of novel 3D imaging techniques to quantify biomass associated with North Sea artificial structures (NS3D).

Anthropogenic structures are deployed in marine environments to support industrial activities such as energy production. Sessile marine organisms rapidly colonise these offshore structures, which in turn attract mobile invertebrates, fish and top predators.

Principal Investigator: Dr Thomas Wilding

Organisation: Scottish Association for Marine Science

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EcoSTAR: Ecosystem level importance of Structures as Artificial Reefs

The North Sea is one of the most industrialised marine environments on the planet, with thousands of man-made structures (MMS) including oil and gas platforms, pipelines, subsea cable routes, and marine renewable energy installations. Much of the infrastructure relating to the oil and gas industry has been in place for decades and is coming to the end of its economic life. In contrast, the marine renewable energy industry is expanding with many windfarms planned for construction in the near future.

Principal Investigator: Dr Debbie Russell

Organisation: University of St Andrews

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