Partnerships icon Partnerships

Given the immense breadth and scope of ocean exploration, it would be impossible for NOAA Ocean Exploration to achieve our mission without working closely with other federal and state agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private industry. This is why partnerships play such a crucial role in all of our work.

Our partnerships leverage complementary expertise and produce innovations in exploration tools and capabilities. By working with institutions with a wide range of experience, expertise, and creativity, NOAA Ocean Exploration is able to enhance the potential for significant new advances in discovery, understanding, action, and inspiration. We are also leading efforts to coordinate a national program for ocean exploration through the National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization (NOMEC) Council, building a foundation for strong and successful partnerships across the exploration community.

As the societal relevance of the ocean is increasingly recognized, so are the needs for exploring it. Exploring the ocean encompasses a broad spectrum of work including many ocean science disciplines, maritime heritage, data and data analytics, technology advancement, expeditions, outreach and education, workforce training, and stakeholder engagement. Collaboration in these areas benefits NOAA Ocean Exploration and advances the interests of our partners and the knowledge and understanding of the ocean for everyone.

To grow our network of partners, NOAA Ocean Exploration seeks to expand the scope of organizations and entities we collaborate with, including private-sector, academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations and federal, state, tribal, and territorial agencies. Examples of partnerships that NOAA Ocean Exploration and NOAA have entered into are described below and also include Proteus, OceanX, Ocean Infinity, the Octonauts, Saildrone, Fugro, Kraken, and Boeing.

If you would like to discuss partnership and collaboration opportunities with NOAA Ocean Exploration, use our partnership questionnaire to tell us about your organization.

To learn how NOAA collaborates with external partners on technology development efforts, see the NOAA Technology Partnership Office website.

To learn about NOAA Ocean Exploration’s competitive grant program, see our funding opportunities web page.

Below are the primary organizations that NOAA Ocean Exploration partners with regularly.

Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute logo

NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute 

The NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI)  focuses on mapping and characterizing the nation’s submerged resources, developing and deploying new technologies, and engaging and inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and educators. The skills and capacities of the OECI complement and amplify NOAA Ocean Exploration's exploratory science, technology, and outreach capabilities, helping to advance the priorities of our office and of NOAA. The OECI is hosted by the University of Rhode Island and includes affiliate organizations, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Ocean Exploration Trust.

Watch this webinar series to learn more about the OECI. 
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center logo

Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center 

The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC) was founded in 1999 with two main objectives: to develop tools to advance ocean mapping and hydrography and to train the next generation of hydrographers and ocean mappers. The JHC is a formal cooperative partnership between the University of New Hampshire and NOAA, with the aim to create a national center for expertise in ocean mapping and hydrographic sciences. CCOM, a complementary university center, expands the scope of ocean mapping interaction and collaboration with the private sector, other government agencies, and other universities.
Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration logo

Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration 

The Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) is a nonprofit foundation whose primary mission is to develop the capabilities and foster the relationships necessary to be a global presence in the world of ocean exploration, as well as an international resource for partners. Through GFOE's work in the deep sea, the organization helps society to understand, interpret, and protect this critical ocean environment. GFOE works to empower the underwater science community with the tools and expertise required to explore the greatest depths of the planet’s largest and deepest bodies of water and trains the ocean exploration workforce, not only for the national ocean exploration program, but for the community at large.
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation logo

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation 

Founded in 2000, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation works with communities and NOAA to inspire the conservation of treasured places in our waters for a healthy ocean and Great Lakes and to preserve America’s maritime and cultural history. Through science and conservation efforts, community engagement, and outreach and education, the foundation primarily supports the National Marine Sanctuary System, a network of 14 national marine sanctuaries and two national marine monuments that encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.
Schmidt Ocean Institute logo

Schmidt Ocean Institute 

Schmidt Ocean Institute is a private, nonprofit operating foundation established to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge and catalyze sharing of information about the ocean. The institute focuses on accelerating the pace in ocean sciences with operational, technological, and informational innovations and on open sharing of information needed to expand the understanding of the world’s ocean.
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research logo

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is a nonprofit consortium of more than 100 North American member colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences. Through community programs, UCAR supports and extends the capabilities of its academic consortium.

Within NOAA, NOAA Ocean Exploration regularly partners with offices across the agency, from the National Ocean Service to NOAA Fisheries. We have a long-standing partnership with the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which operates NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as well as other vessels within NOAA’s fleet that are used for exploration. The management, archiving, and delivery of data collected through NOAA Ocean Exploration-supported expeditions happens through a partnership with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Cooperation with other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, NASA, and the U.S. Navy, also plays an important role in our mission to explore the deep ocean.