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Moore Foundation Supports WHOI Effort to Revolutionize Ocean Research

Moore Foundation Supports WHOI Effort to Revolutionize Ocean Research A Slocum glider operating underwater off Sodwana Bay, South Africa. (Photo by Sean Whelan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

August 22, 2016

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announce their support for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and engineers to explore a new path for ocean research focused on rapid software and hardware innovation. WHOI will explore industry partnerships, agile development practices, and novel engineering approaches over the next 18 months with the $250,000 award.

Investigators involved in the project will explore new processes for ocean engineering using  autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) as proof of concept. WHOI engineers and researchers will incorporate knowledge and experience gained through partnerships with key organizations in the private sector.

“The technology landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade, and this award will allow us to build the next chapter of technology innovation at WHOI. By lowering the financial and technical costs of entry, we hope to bring new ideas and new capabilities to the ocean community,” said Mark Abbott, President and Director of WHOI and principal investigator for the project. “Developing an open platform will allow ocean scientists to explore the most pressing questions about our ocean, such as ecosystem health and resilience and the impacts of a changing climate. This will open doors to re-imagine our technology.”

Moore Foundation Program Director Chris Mentzel said he is excited for the possible impact of this award on oceanographic research, commenting, “WHOI is already a leader in the development of high quality technologies for ocean science and their interest in embracing this new modality of innovation demonstrates a strong commitment to the future of technology-enabled research.”

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. Visit or follow @MooreFound.