Strategic Plan

CSSF Strategic Plan for Marine Science

The CSSF vision is to develop world-leading undersea intervention technologies to enable a broad range of marine research and engineering activities in Canada and around the world. The CSSF mission is to provide Canadians and others with a state-of-the-art ability to conduct science and engineering in the submarine environment at a realistic cost. CSSF is recognized as the foremost provider of submersible solutions to enable marine science.

CSSF’s Strategic Plan for Marine Science covers 5 themes: I) Improving seafloor and deep-water access to Canadian scientists in disciplines ranging from benthic ecology and habitat mapping to gas hydrate geology to physical oceanography in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans; II) Supporting Canadian and other ocean observatory science by working closely with observatory initiatives to enable deployment, maintenance and experimental access for seafloor research; III) Expanding service to the Arctic by working closely with ArcticNet to provide regular maintenance and service to the Super Mohawk vehicle and to establish expertise for support of a broader Arctic submersible program; IV) Broadening service to enhance use and enable sustainability of the facility for the long term; V) Enhancement of service by upgrading and improving of the submersible, training of personnel, and offering top quality products in research data and imagery to ensure the facility remains at the cutting edge of ocean science.

The services CSSF provides can be sustained only if the expertise that operates and maintains the submersible systems is supported year round. Otherwise, the service and more important, the quality of service for which we are known cannot be delivered. The strategic plan is designed to open new opportunities for Canadian marine science, while providing the means to sustain and expand our services. CSSF is a not-for-profit entity.

I) Improving Access

CSSF was founded to enable access by Canadian scientists for research. The principal communities CSSF serves are Atlantic and Pacific coast university and government scientists. The Facility will work with these communities and Canadian funding agencies to maintain support for deployments on both coasts. CSSF has established a liaison position (Assistant Manager Science) to enhance communication with Canadian and other Science users. In particular, to foster younger Canadian marine scientists to gain experience in using ROPOS in their research CSSF aims to co-ordinate with NSERC to make ROPOS accessible for a multi-purpose mission by financing the additional days with income generated from international clients. The plan will benefit all parties: CSSF will benefit because more Canadian scientists will gain experience in using ROPOS, and Canadian scientists will gain the use of our world class services at reduced cost.

II) Supporting Ocean Observatory Science

The current user base is dominated by two large university-based projects, one in Canada (Ocean Networks Canada’s VENUS and NEPTUNE observatories) and the other in the U.S. (NSF’s Ocean Observing Initiative – Regional Scale Nodes). CSSF has played a significant role in the establishment and now maintenance of both cabled observatory initiatives. A major aim of the Facility is to continue to be the foremost provider of access to the Ocean Networks Canada and enhance access for the US OOI.

CSSF will establish a liaison position (Assistant Manager Outreach) for communication and planning directly with ONC and OOI to plan and carry out major new initiatives involving new technology development and construction as well as supporting ongoing maintenance and science on the observatory networks.

At the recommendation of the University of Washington, in order to facilitate longer term access to the Regional Science Nodes component of the Ocean Observing Initiative of NSF, CSSF aims to establish a branch office in Newport, Oregon, an important and growing hub of marine science in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. This branch of CSSF will provide a point of contact to potential users in the area regarding ROV services and allowing marketing activities to be undertaken readily with the many federal and state research groups located there.

III) Arctic Research

CSSF sets a high priority on expanding its services in the Canadian Arctic. At present, CSSF operates the Super Mohawk submersible on the CCGS Amundsen in a partnership with ArcticNet. The partnership involves preparation of the submersible prior to the cruise and operating it on the vessel. To ensure that the submersible is ready for service over the long term, CSSF plans to develop a closer relationship with ArcticNet to provide regular maintenance and service to the vehicle. An initial part of the venture is already in place to establish a maintenance and mobilization program at Laval similar to the one in place for ROPOS in Victoria. CSSF will provide the expertise for establishing the facility and the long term operation of the vehicle. CSSF will also participate with ArcticNet in developing a long term plan for funding the use of the submersible for research.

IV) Broadening Service

New ventures that involve working with international clients will be actively sought to sustain operations in the long term. Revenues from these operations are essential to keep our expert team in place year round. Canadian marine science benefits in two ways from CSSF’s international ventures: the funds are in place to support the submersible in a ready state for operations, and costs to Canadian science can be reduced from the increased revenues. A central task in the strategic plan is to bring awareness of the capabilities of ROPOS and the Canadian Scientific Submersible facility (CSSF) to a broader range of potential users in an effort to create a more sustainable long-term user base.

CSSF’s goal is to work with eminent Canadian marine scientists to raise the awareness of the problem and lobby for financial support for programs to replace the NSERC Major Resource Support program. CSSF will also develop new partnerships with agencies such as Schmidt Ocean Institute and Global Oceans to open up new opportunities for Canadian researchers.

Providing new opportunities for Canadian marine science is an essential component of our strategic plan. CSSF plans to collaborate with the Canadian marine science community to develop the next generation of Canadian marine scientists. With the cancellation of the NSERC MRS program, it is evident that Canadian marine science is underfunded for using services from CSSF.

V) Enhancement of Service

CSSF will promote the specialized and unique capabilities of ROPOS in a variety of ways, and make partnerships with other agencies to extend submersible services by operating other vehicles. CSSF will continue to partner with programs such as the Industrial Internship program at Universities across the country to offer training in areas of engineering for underwater intervention, robotics, software engineering, piloting and navigation among others.

CSSF will promote use of data and imagery obtained by establishing a science liaison position to assist with distribution of data.

The services CSSF provides are of interest to:

  • Canadian academic researchers in earth and ocean sciences, particularly in deep ocean areas of the East Coast, West Coast and Arctic using the mid-depth vehicle configuration.
  • Canadian academic researchers in earth and ocean sciences on all coasts and Great Lakes using the shallow vehicle configuration, especially where the specialized capabilities of ROPOS are required and not available on other vehicles.
  • Canadian government researchers, regulators and national security agencies on the East, West and Arctic Coasts.
  • Canadian offshore operators with highly specialized ROV requirements not available in the private sector such as precise deployment of environmental monitoring systems, production monitoring and communications systems, communications cables, and direct environmental monitoring.
  • Foreign academic researchers in earth and ocean sciences, particularly in deep-ocean areas using the mid-depth (and possibly deep-ocean) configuration.
  • Foreign government-based research and development agencies with specialized requirements related to seafloor research, environmental monitoring, installation of monitoring systems and cables, and precision installation of lightweight seafloor communications systems.
  • Foreign offshore operators with highly specialized ROV requirements not available in the private sector such as precise deployment of environmental monitoring systems, production monitoring and communications systems, communications cables, and direct environmental monitoring.