WHOI 2002 Annual Report subnav



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Report from the President and Director

Bob Gagosian and Jim Moltz
Bob Gagosian, left, with Jim Moltz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
This year we made steady progress down the path of change begun several years ago. Despite tougher competition, our investigators continue to have remarkable success in securing research funding from federal agencies. Private funds, however, account for an increasing percentage of our innovative work, and in some instances have seeded a “proof of concept” to help us secure continuing funding from federal sources. The Ocean Institutes, organized to look beyond traditional scientific boundaries and blend skills of many disciplines, completed their second year. They are already making a difference in the intellectual environment of the Institution’s research and education, and informing national and international policy. Construction of a ring road on the Quissett Campus this year completed the first phase of our campus master plan. We now have a plan in place for building new science facilities at Quissett, and will soon be ready to implement it. We are also reviewing our Woods Hole village facilities.

In this time of rapid evolution, we took stock this year and articulated a vision:

    To advance our leadership as the foremost research and higher education institution in oceanography by nurturing inventive minds in a creative environment with unmatched access to the sea, premier shore-based facilities, and unparalleled opportunities to convey the benefits of scientific discovery.
Let me offer my perspective on this vision.

To advance our leadership as the foremost research and higher education institution in oceanography…
Our leadership has many components. One is our unique ability to combine science and engineering. The two complement each other, producing a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Our leadership also comes from a willingness to risk traveling into uncharted territory, both physical and intellectual. And we lead by preparing new leaders through our academic program, encouraging students and postdocs to continue exploring and innovating.

…by nurturing inventive minds in a creative environment…
By bringing together world-class scientists and cultivating intellectual freedom, we enable them to do fulfilling, valuable work and enable the Institution to more easily attract and retain people of similar talent. In 2002, our investigators produced more than 400 scientific publications. In addition, we strive for the right balance of independence and interdependence. We collaborate closely within the oceanographic community, yet remain autonomous in how we work. Each scientist commands his or her own research program, breeding a resourceful, entrepreneurial spirit that lies at the core of our success.

…with unmatched access to the sea…
Three ocean research vessels, the submersible Alvin, a new coastal vessel, and a wide range of autonomous and remotely operated vehicles give us unique reach into the oceans, temporally, laterally, and vertically. We can bring scientists in person to depths of 4,500 meters (14,850 feet). Through our programmable instruments, we can sample round the clock, seven days a week, and in environments not previously accessible. This capability not only allows us to address key questions in ocean science, it enables us to frame entirely new sets of questions.

…premier shore-based facilities…
Our dock provides excellent research support capabilities for cruises around the corner or around the globe. Our campus plan will bring state-of-the-art laboratories and meeting spaces to the Oceanographic, and with Internet 2 fully implemented, high-speed network access will enhance efficiency within the organization and with scientific partners worldwide.

…and unparalleled opportunities to convey the benefits of scientific discovery.
The diversity, depth, and breadth of our work, our unique marriage of science and engineering, and our independence allow us to quickly grasp research opportunities of the greatest promise. Our scientists spend an increasing part of their time communicating their findings to help bring about understanding and sound bases for decision making.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution today is in the enviable position of intellectual leadership, financial stability, and increasing strength at a time when many research and higher learning institutions are having to retrench. In this report you will see some of the people and ideas that made WHOI an exciting place in 2002. By continuing to engage in constructive debate and inquiry, I know we can challenge the status quo at all levels in oceanography with fresh ideas.