University of Rhode Island & leading ocean science institutions partner with Propeller Ventures

November 13, 2023

Propeller Ventures announced four new partnerships with leading ocean science institutions, Oregon State University, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, University of California San Diego and University of Rhode Island. These partnerships build on initiatives to accelerate climate solutions with founding partner, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Working together with new partners in the West, Northwest, Northeast and Pacific regions, Propeller will further expand efforts to identify commercializable opportunities across these institutions, all of which are working at the frontier of ocean science innovation.

“At Scripps Institution of Oceanography, we have a long history of meeting global challenges with ocean technology, science and discovery,” said Margaret Leinen, Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences at UC San Diego and Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “We look forward to collaborating on the development of ocean-based climate solutions.”

Propeller partner and Chief Scientist Julie Pullen.

“I’m energized to work with my colleagues at the leading ocean science institutions to expedite solutions at such a vital moment for our planet,” said Propeller partner and Chief Scientist Julie Pullen.

Propeller, an early stage VC fund launched in 2022, invests in ocean-climate solutions that stem from research and development in the marine sciences and adjacent areas. Portfolio themes include carbon removal and monitoring, ocean-based renewable energy, maritime transport decarbonization, biotechnology, marine life conservation and other climate change mitigation and adaptation opportunities.

Tuba Özkan-Haller, Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University added, “At OSU we draw from a breadth of disciplines across the university to drive ocean science research to commercialization. And we are proud to host the Department of Energy’s grid-connected open ocean wave energy testing facility as a technology deployment site for the private sector along with other ocean science and coastal engineering testing environments.”

Across partnerships and portfolio investments Propeller is dedicated to encouraging and engaging entrepreneurial women and BIPOC teams. The new ocean science partner institutions are also channeling resources to cultivate diversity and equity in research and entrepreneurialism in ocean science.

“Addressing the impacts of climate change on communities in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific Islands is a key strategic priority,” said Michael Bruno, Provost of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. ”We have invested heavily in initiatives to inspire and enable faculty and student-led programs in innovation and entrepreneurship, and we offer these capacities, working with Propeller toward our common endeavor to catalyze climate solutions.”

Added Paula Bontempi, Dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography: “Southeastern New England, including Rhode Island, was recently designated an Ocean Tech Hub. URI is at the forefront of catalyzing the blue economy through a growing set of initiatives encompassing ocean research, technology, education, and professional training that converge with Propeller’s work in ways that will be transformative.”