Skip to content
For WHOI personnel and vendors: COVID-19 Guidelines

Institutional Strategy Council

The Institutional Strategy Council (ISC) was established in 2014 on the recommendation of the Ocean Institute Ad Hoc Committee (OIAHC) established by the Board of Trustees in June 2013.  The Board asked OIAHC to determine if change was desirable in the purpose, structure, funding and functioning of the four Ocean Institutes (Coastal Ocean, Ocean Life, Deep Ocean Exploration, and Ocean and Climate Change) in order to improve their effectiveness in a changing funding environment.


The primary purpose of ISC is to improve coordination and communication among the Directorate, Science Department Chairs, Ocean Institutes, and Development and Communication Departments, and to enhance the Institution’s ability to evaluate options, determine priorities, and make strategic long-term decisions about science directions and fund-raising.

ISC will therefore identify and rank by priority those Institutional research initiatives best suited to support and enhance the scientific mission of the Institution and able to convey clear, unified messages capable of attracting external funding support.

Specifically, ISC will

  • Identify, critically examine, and come to consensus on innovative research and technology initiatives that can be candidates for Institution-wide initiatives, and ensure their alignment with Institutional objectives and strategies. An initiative is a line of scientific inquiry in which WHOI is well positioned to make research advances and likely to attract the financial resources necessary to accomplish the work.
  • Act as a forum to receive and review initiative proposals from scientific staff, other WHOI centers and entities, the President, the Directorate, and the Development and Communications groups.  Recognizing that the Institution can concurrently support only a few initiatives, the ISC will vet proposals in terms of scientific, technological, Institutional, communications, and fund-raising potential.
  • Advise the formation of coordinated scientific, Institutional, Development and Communications strategies to most effectively support the goals of identified initiatives, including, as needed, the deployment of WHOI personnel and the identification of likely funding.
  • Evaluate and advise on the use of institution discretionary funding for the development of initiatives.
  • At designated intervals, evaluate the progress and effectiveness of initiatives and decide whether to proceed, adjust, or discontinue initiatives.
  • Evaluate the Ocean Institutes and change them as necessary, including consolidating, eliminating, adding, refocusing, renaming, etc., within the context of evolving strategies.


Members of the ISC are Department Chairs, the MPC Director, Institute Directors, the President, the Vice Presidents, the Chief Development Officer and Special Projects Director, Director of Communications, and a WHOI Trustee.

Those eligible to serve as chair of ISC are Institute Directors, Department Chairs, the Vice Presidents, or other senior scientific staff.  The ISC chair will be selected by the President and Director and Director of Research from a slate of candidates suggested by the ISC.  The chair rotates every two years, and reports to the President and Director and the Director of Research.  ISC will determine appropriate compensation and staff support for the chair’s additional workload.  Similarly, the ISC will set its own internal procedures, management, and structural rules.

ISC generally meets after bi-weekly Staff Council meetings, as needed.