NERC, the Natural Environment Research Council, is considering merging the marine and polar science functions by bringing together the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
The organisation has said a marine and polar headquarters would deliver a single management function whilst retaining the identity of the existing centres as component parts.
All the existing BAS and NOC sites, at Cambridge, Southampton and Liverpool, would remain, it said.
NERC said too that a more integrated management of “increasingly expensive major research infrastructure”, especially its four research ships, could achieve savings through partnerships and cost-sharing with the international marine and polar sciences communities.
NERC also operates scientific bases in Antarctica and South Georgia.