Academic and Non-governmental Partners

Given the immense breadth and scope of ocean exploration, it would be impossible for us to meet our mission without working closely with other federal and state agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and private industry. This is why partnerships play such a crucial role in all of the work that we accomplish within the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER).

OER's partnerships leverage complementary expertise and produce innovations in exploration tools and capabilities. By working with institutions with a range of experience, expertise, and creativity, we are able to enhance the potential for significant new advances in discovery, understanding, and action. We are 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.

Below are the primary academic and non-governmental organizations that OER partners with regularly.



Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Research Center exit icon

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 is 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 exit icon

The Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration (GFOE) is a newly established non-profit foundation whose primary mission is to enable the next generation of engineers and film makers by providing an open platform for work and training opportunities in the fields of Ocean Exploration and Research. GFOE is dedicated to the idea that to continue to advance our knowledge of the natural world, we must not only inspire the next generation but also provide meaningful work opportunities to enable them to make lasting contributions.


Inner Space Center exit icon

The Inner Space Center (ISC) is an international leader in ocean science research, exploration, and education. Located at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, the ISC captures, displays, and disseminates high bandwidth streams of undersea video and data in real time, expanding the capacity for ocean scientists to engage in mission operations. It uses cutting-edge technology, including telepresence, to explore the global ocean, support research, and engage diverse audiences. The Inner Space Center brings the excitement of ocean discoveries to onshore audiences worldwide and inspires the next generation of ocean explorers.


NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology exit icon

The NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT) focuses on three main themes: exploration of the eastern U.S. continental shelf; improving understanding of vulnerable sponge and coral ecosystems; and developing advanced underwater technologies. In addition, CIOERT is dedicated to building education, outreach, and workforce development. CIOERT’s primary NOAA partner is the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. CIOERT’s partner institutions and collaborators provide deep expertise in our theme areas and allows CIOERT to develop integrated, innovative projects that directly address NOAA needs and national priorities.


Ocean Exploration Trust exit icon

The 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, the 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.


University Corporation for Atmospheric Research exit icon

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research 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. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research with sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Through our community programs, UCAR supports and extends the capabilities of our academic consortium. OER partners with UCAR to provide early career explorers hands-on experience in ocean exploration on board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.


To learn more about other partnership projects, view our recent office activities, browse our Annual Reports, or visit the Explorations page.