August 2016 - Marine Technology Reporter
Halls of Higher Learning
By Kira Coley
The subsea industry and the institutes, institutions, universities and colleges are inextricably linked. Picking just five to feature in our MTR100 was no easy feat, but our U.K.-based contributor Kira Coley, as always, gave it her best shot.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography - UC San Diego
Topic: Education & Outreach
No. of employees: 2,238
Address: 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093
Since 1903, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has evolved into one of the world’s most influential centers for marine biology, ocean, atmospheric and earth research. The award-winning institution and culture of collaboration spark innovation which has shaped science over the last century and driven economic impact in today’s society. The Scripps mission is to seek, teach, and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, atmosphere, Earth, and other planets for the benefit of society and the environment. As such, the institution places the next generation of scientists in the frontline of cutting-edge research and, through exceptional educational programs, applies and communicates that knowledge to the public. Their successful commitment to outreach is demonstrated by the annual presence of almost half a million visitors to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center for the institution. Scripps also has one of the largest academic research fleets in the world. These floating laboratories have led to fundamental observations generating a legacy of priceless data—including Argo and the CalCOFI observations of the California Current ecosystem. Over the past five years 304 separate research missions have been completed, supporting 4,526 scientists, students, engineers, and explorers from 425 different research institutions and laboratories around the world.
As Scripps continues to inspire and educate, the institution has also prioritised the development of solutions to meet new challenges to the health of the planet.
Through the emergence of four main strategic themes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography will focus future projects on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation, Resilience to Hazards; Human Health and the Oceans and Innovative Technologies to Observe the Planet.
The journal Nature ranked the academic institution of UC San Diego first in the United States and fourth worldwide in earth and environmental research. QS World University Rankings 2016 in Earth & Marine Sciences placed UCSD as 14th in the world.
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
Topic: Marine Technology
Address: University of Southampton,
Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 3ZH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 6666
A merger in April 2010 between Liverpool’s Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and Southampton’s National Oceanography Center, gave rise to the UK’s leading institution for ocean research and technology development. From the coast to the deep ocean, the National Oceanography Center (NOC) has led advancements in marine technology and ocean exploration. The organization hosts two Royal Research Ships and an impressive array of deep submersibles, advanced ocean instruments and sensors. It is also home to the global mean sea level data archive, the UK’s sea level monitoring system for flood warning and climate change, the national archive of subsea sediment cores and the British Oceanographic Data Centre. In 2015, a $4.2 million center was opened to develop new technology for the emerging marine robotics sector. The Marine Robotics Innovation Centre, designed to be the hub for businesses developing autonomous platforms, will be the future birthplace of novel marine observation technology that will be used to cost-effectively capture data from the world’s oceans.
Already, the NOC has demonstrated its world leading position in marine technology through dozens of projects and expeditions. This includes the testing of new technologies for blue mining and assessments into the future role of autonomous systems for the monitoring of deep-water and coastal Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). A recent $13m investment from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has been given to the NOC to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global marine science and technology innovation. The development of a new 1500m depth-rated Autosub Long Range (ALR1500) and a 6000m depth-rated autonomous underwater vehicle (Autosub6000 Mk2), will support future under-ice and deep-ocean science.
The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI)
Topic: Polar Science
No. of employees: circa 1,100
Address: Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)471 4831-0
Situated across several locations throughout northern Germany, the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) has grown from humble beginnings in the 1980s with only a handful of people to one with over a thousand, investigating regions from temperate to the world’s most extreme. Named after the German polar explorer who discovered the continental drift, the AWI has quickly established themselves as one of the top research institutes in the world and one of the very few that are equally active in both polar regions. As the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, the AWI work closely with numerous national and international partners and, as such, is the headquarters for dozens of national, European and international projects such as the “Polar Prediction Project” and the Helmholtz Alliance “Robotic Exploration of extreme Environments.” With a focus on long-term observations, the AWI carry the responsibility for collecting and maintaining high-quality observation data for the global research community, including the long-term measurement of Arctic sea ice thickness. It also develops, maintains and operates high-value research infrastructure, including research vessels, polar stations, aircraft, laboratories, and observatories to facilitate field research, including the Antarctic Research Station “Neumayer-Station III” and research aircraft Polar 5 and 6. Combining innovative approaches, outstanding research infrastructure and years of expertise, the AWI actively seeks to unravel the complex processes of the “Earth System” – from the atmosphere to the ocean floor – and progresses towards meeting the scientific challenges of tomorrow. The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres ranked 2nd in the world and 1st in Europe in the 2016 journal Nature Index for its contributions to Earth & Environmental sciences. Germany was ranked 3rd top country for its contributions to the journal.
ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Topic: Tropical Marine Science
No. of employees: ~3,000
Address: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia
Tel: 61 7 4781 4000
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies undertakes world-leading integrated research for sustainable use and management of coral reefs. Funded in July 2005 under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence program this prestigious research centre is headquartered at James Cook University (JCU), Australia. The ARC Centre is a partnership with JCU, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the Australian National University (ANU), the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Western Australia (UWA).
The ARC Centre of Excellence cements Australia’s leading contribution to coral reef sciences and fosters stronger collaborative links between the major partners and 24 other leading institutions in nine countries. Collectively, the ARC Centre creates the world’s largest concentration of coral reef scientists.
The ARC Centre of Excellence takes a leading role in multi-national research, focusing its efforts on three research areas: People and Ecosystems, Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future and Responding to a changing world.
It is the largest single institutional contributor to the Global Coral Reef Targeted Research Program, funded by the World Bank, and is an Institutional Member of the Resilience Alliance. The Centre of Excellence has strong links to the Census of Marine Life project, and to coral reef management agencies worldwide, particularly the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Townsville, Australia.
According to ISI Essential Science Indicators, four of the ARC Centre’s major research partners rank in the top 20 institutions world-wide for citations for coral reef science with JCU ranking 1st (among 1644 institutions in 103 countries).
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
No. of employees: ~1,200
Address: 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543-1050 U.S.A
Tel: (508) 548-1400
With more than 85 years of research and exploration, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the world’s largest, independent ocean research institution. Their research spans theory, exploration, field observation, computer modeling, technology development, and practical applications to real-world problems. WHOI brings together ocean experts with engineers to build innovative new technologies and tools necessary to advance ocean science.
Since 1964, WHOI has operated the National Deep Submergence Facility, a federally-funded center that designs, builds and operates deep-sea exploration vehicles—Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry—for the benefit of the entire U.S. oceanographic community.
The Institution is also the lead organization on the coastal and global nodes of the NSF-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative. WHOI designed, built, deployed and maintains the coastal Pioneer Array off New England and four global arrays (off Alaska, Greenland, Chile, and Argentina) and have also begun operation of the Neil Armstrong, the nation’s newest and most advanced research vessel.
The Institution has produced major contributions to the fields of oceanography and marine sciences, including most recently studying impacts of the great 2015-16 El Nino on corals and exploring strategies to conserve vulnerable reefs. WHOI has also developed a set of new tools for tracking and learning about animals in the wild, such as real-time acoustic buoys for whales, and the SharkCam, and TurtleCam vehicles.
The future of WHOI ocean research will be focused on investigating marine microbiomes; combining advanced sensors and underwater vehicles for exploration and data collections in remote or harsh environments, and improving our understanding of climate impacts on coastal environments and resources.
The journal Nature ranked WHOI as 11th in the United States and 14th worldwide in earth and environmental research.
(As published in the July/August 2016 MTR100 edition of Marine Technology Reporter)
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