GSO announces competition to rename new ocean research vessel

October 9, 2020

GSO is holding a national competition to select a new name for a National Science Foundation-owned Regional Class Research Vessel which will homeport at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus.

The competition will open on October 15, 2020 and end on December 31, 2020.

GSO, along with its academic partners and federal sponsors, invites the public (individuals and groups) to submit names that honor individuals, communities or ideas that have furthered our understanding of the ocean, and whose recognition is long overdue. The name of this vessel will proudly represent an underrepresented voice.

Over the past several weeks, many GSO faculty, students, and staff have shared their thoughts about the future of GSO for Rhode Island, its blue economy, and its commitment to inspiring and educating the next generation of scientists and explorers. A central aspect of that vision is for URI and GSO to become leaders in diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. As such, one of the first points of reflection for senior URI leadership is reexamining the name of the new research vessel, “Resolution.” Over the last few weeks members of both GSO and the broader URI community urged that the vessel’s name be reconsidered. GSO agrees.

The new regional class vessel will embody the spirit of ocean exploration, discovery, and research. It will support such scientific studies as the tracking of ocean currents and fish migration, seafloor surveys in earthquake-prone regions of the world, conservation of marine mammals and the food-web dynamics in the deep ocean. In addition, the ship will offer education and outreach opportunities for teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and the public.

School classes of all ages and families who are homeschooling are welcome to collaborate and submit a name as a class or family project. Participants are asked to include a brief statement explaining why the name is being suggested.

The dean of GSO, Dr. Paula Bontempi, will form a naming committee at GSO to establish an equitable and inclusive process for selecting a name for this new world-class vessel, and a set of finalists will be announced in February 2021. From the finalists, a vessel name will be suggested by the committee to the Dean of GSO, which the GSO Dean will recommend to URI’s President and the vessel owner, the National Science Foundation, for consideration and final approval.

GSO will invite the finalists, winner, and any immediate family members (if underage) to join the new research vessel’s christening in 2023.

In July 2018, the National Science Foundation selected the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium, led by the University of Rhode Island, to operate the new $125 million oceanographic research ship, one of only three such vessels in the nation. The URI-led consortium includes the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of New Hampshire School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering — along with numerous associate members.

GSO looks forward to identifying a name that celebrates its excellence in ocean research and honors its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As GSO approaches its 60th anniversary in 2021, the school looks forward to a new era of ocean exploration and discovery, and a vibrant future for ocean science.