Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has established a new Office for Applied Oceanography to foster applied research supported by sources beyond traditional governmental agencies.
To sustain growth in an era of flat federal funding for basic research, “we seek to enable scientists and engineers at WHOI to pursue a wider array of applied research opportunities by making connections with industry partners, foreign governments, and U.S. government agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, for example, which fund applied research,” said Dan Stuermer, vice president for external relations at WHOI.
“Establishing this office is a way to provide an environment and culture in which scientists and engineers can take advantage of those opportunities.”
“During the Second World War, the vast majority of (WHOI’s) work was defense-related and highly applied—from developing smokescreen methods to protect landing parties to anti-submarine warfare techniques,” acting WHOI Director James Luyten said. “We seek to increase our applied work while maintaining our critical mass in basic research. It’s not an either-or proposition; basic and applied science can coexist.”
Several newly forged projects demonstrate the potential for such coexistence:
The Office for Applied Oceanography also helps scientists and engineers protect intellectual property, submit patents, and manage technology transfer and licensing.
REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS), designed and built by scientists and engineers in the WHOI Oceanographic Systems Laboratory, are autonomous underwater vehicles that survey at various depths. They have been used widely for scientific, industry, and military operations. (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)