The IOI-Malta Operational Centre is established within the University of Malta and its main areas of concern include the strengthening of inter-faculty co-operation in marine affairs within the University, the organisation of training courses, sustaining the interaction between local institutions that are active in marine affairs, and promoting an inter-sectorial approach at a national level. It maintains links with international marine organisations such as the UNESCO/Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the International Commission for the Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea (CIESM).
The Physical Oceanography Unit constitutes the research arm of the IOI-Malta Operational Centre. It undertakes fundamental research in coastal meteorology, hydrography and physical oceanography with a main emphasis on the experimental study of the hydrodynamics of the sea in the vicinity of the Maltese Islands. It offers facilities for the gathering, processing, analysis and management of high quality physical oceanographic observations both for long term and baseline studies as well as for general applications in marine environmental research and assessments. The PO-Unit also acts as a national oceanographic data centre and promotes the IOC/IODE products and activities in Malta. It provides support to local entities involved in marine research and monitoring, to collect and maintain oceanographic data according to international standards.
Another related key activity is the coordination role through the MedGOOS Secretariat. The Mediterranean Global Ocean Observing System (MedGOOS) is an informal association founded under the auspices of UNESCO/IOC in November 1997 in Malta, aiming to facilitate the development of an operational forecasting system at a regional and coastal scale to the benefit of a wide group of users in the region. The Secretariat has co-coordinated the “Mediterranean network to Assess and upgrade the Monitoring and forecasting Activity in the region” (MAMA) project which involved a partnership from all the Mediterranean countries, aiming to establish the multi-national network and regional platform for an integrated and sustained monitoring system in the region. This project further led to a Specific Support Action, the GOOS Regional Alliances Network Development (GRAND) which targeted to enhance synergies and common practices in the GOOS Regional Alliances. GRAND brought together all GOOS Regional Alliances (GRAs), with the support of the major international organisations related to GOOS (IOC, JCOMM, I-GOOS), and has provided a forum, led by Europe, to harmonise the diverse regional systems within GOOS, while advancing the European contribution to the global system.