Partnerships icon Partnerships

Given the immense breadth and scope of ocean exploration, it would be impossible for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research 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 OER’s work.

The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER)'s 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, OER is able to enhance the potential for significant new advances in discovery, understanding, action, and inspiration. OER is also working to coordinate a national program for ocean exploration, the foundation of which will need to be built on strong and successful partnerships across the exploration community and beyond.

Below are the primary academic and nongovernmental organizations that OER partners with regularly.

Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute

The 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 OER's exploratory science, technology, and outreach capabilities, helping to advance OER and NOAA missions and priorities. The OECI is hosted by the University of Rhode Island in partnership with the University of New Hampshire, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Ocean Exploration Trust.
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.
Consortium for Ocean Leadership logo

Consortium for Ocean Leadership 

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL) is a coalition of leading ocean science and technology institutions from academia, aquaria, and industry. Based in Washington, D.C., COL advances ocean research, innovation, education, and sound policy by managing, coordinating, and facilitating ocean research and education programs between academic and industrial oceanographic institutions and government entities in the areas of ocean exploration, ocean observing, analysis and prediction, and informal education. The organization has represented institutions across the United States, Australia, Bermuda, and Canada, supporting every aspect of oceanic discovery from the ocean floor to outer space.
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 fFoundation 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.
Ocean Exploration Trust logo

Ocean Exploration Trust 

Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to engage in pure ocean exploration. In addition to conducting scientific research on board the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, Ocean Exploration Trust offers its expeditions to explorers, educators, and students of all ages on shore via live video, audio, and data feeds from the field.
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, OER regularly partners with offices across the agency, from the National Ocean Service to NOAA Fisheries. OER has 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 OER-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, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, NASA, and U.S. Navy, also plays an important role in OER’s mission to explore the deep ocean.

Additionally, OER and NOAA have entered into several public-private partnerships to advance ocean science, technology, discovery, and outreach with organizations such as Kraken, Fugro, the Octonauts, Vulcan Inc., Caladan Oceanic, OceanX, and Ocean Infinity.