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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and IFREMER renew their partnership

WHOI and IFREMER Handshake WHOI President and Director Peter de Menocal shakes hands with IFREMER President and CEO François Houllier (Photo by Elise Hugus)

December 3, 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Today, leaders at two of the world’s leading ocean science institutions signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) extending their working partnership in the exploration, study, and protection of the world’s oceans.

The MOU was signed by Peter de Menocal, President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and François Houllier, President and Chief Executive Officer of IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), at the Ocean Pavilion at COP28, the UN Climate Conference in Dubai.

Signing of the MOU

WHOI President and Director Peter de Menocal and IFREMER President and CEO François Houllier sign the MOU extending their working partnership. (Photo by Elise Hugus)

Following a first agreement signed by IFREMER and WHOI in 2009 this extension reinforces a range of research collaborations in ocean science and technology, including ocean modelling, deep-sea ecosystems and plankton biodiversity.

This also bolsters IFREMER’s and WHOI’s leadership in international ocean observation efforts, including the Argo program and underwater robotic technology via collaborations between WHOI’s Deep Submergence Lab F and Ifremer’s Systèmes Sous-Marins (Underwater Systems) Unit.

The MoU underscores the fact that IFREMER and WHOI are committed in pursuing mutual goals of  addressing the economic, legal and social challenges confronting marine policy, and aim to encourage the creation of research projects between the Marine Policy Center and the AMURE Joint Research Unit (Management of Marine and Coastal Resources and Spaces).

According to WHOI’s Peter de Menocal, "We are honored to continue our long and productive relationship with Ifremer, as we collectively pursue safe, effective solutions that leverage the power of the ocean to help fight climate change. The ocean could help us restore balance to our climate, but we need more “eyes” in the ocean to measure, understand, and make informed decisions. Only with better observations will we build knowledge about what is happening below the surface and over the horizon."

“Studying the world's oceans, from the abyss to surface, requires scientific collaboration that transcends borders. IFREMER and WHOI share the same ambitions for understanding and preserving the ocean, as illustrated by years of scientific and technical cooperation. This Memorandum of Understanding, renewed today, confirms our determination to further strengthen our interactions, including on new themes, by promoting co-publications and the mobility of our scientists”, declared François Houllier, President and Chief Executive Officer of IFREMER.

WHOI and IFREMER have enjoyed a long and successful working relationship. In 1985, a deep ocean exploration team, led by WHOI’s Robert Ballard and IFREMER’s Jean-Louis Michel, discovered the remains of the RMS Titanic at the bottom of the North Atlantic.


About Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its mission is to understand the ocean and its interactions with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in fundamental and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation and operate the most extensive suite of ocean data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge to inform people and policies for a healthier planet.

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A pioneer in ocean science, IFREMER’s cutting-edge research is grounded in sustainable development and open science. Our vision is to advance science, expertise and innovation to:

  • Protect and restore the ocean
  • Sustainably use marine resources to benefit society
  • Create and share ocean data, information & knowledge.

With more than 1,500 personnel spread along the French coastline in more than 20 sites, the Institute explores the 3 great oceans: the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A leader in ocean science, IFREMER is managing the French Oceanographic Fleet. Well-established in the international scientific community, our scientists, engineers and technicians are committed to advance knowledge about our planet’s last unexplored frontiers.

Learn more at