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 and CEFAS, providing £5 million and £0.6 million, respectively, to fund seven projects starting in 2020. The supporting industry partnership of North Sea asset operators provide site and data access to the research projects, as well as funding £1.9 million programme management, impact delivery, communications and events (SIME).

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INSITES Into - Webinars, Podcasts & Policy Briefings

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

Each of the webinars in the 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 are now available on Vimeo

Visit the Impact page for more information

Playback past episodes of INSITES Into Webinars

Catch up on past episodes of INSITES Int o Webinars

PLAYBACK past episodes of INSITES Into Webinars

Listen on the move

Listen to INSITES into on the move - available as a podcast

Listen on the move - PODCASTS


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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