Goals & Objectives

The Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI) is a unique consortium of top oceanographic institutions—several graduate degree-granting institutions, an ocean exploration non-profit, and task-specific partners. They work as one to advance the core priorities of NOAA Ocean Exploration. Put simply, the OECI is uncovering the potential benefits our ocean has to offer.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Scientist Tim Shank reviews Nautical Charts and Bathymetric Charts while planning dive operations within the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument.

The United States is a leader in ocean exploration and discovery of the intellectual, economic, and social drivers embedded in the ocean realm. Remaining a leader will require more than any one institution, technological system, or ocean-going platform can provide. Through the conduct of its missions, technological innovation and by mobilizing a vast network of scientists and students, the OECI can mount a sustained and concerted effort. The long-term result will be to fully open the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and to widely benefit the nation’s Blue Economy.

OECI’s tasks are organized around four areas of focus:

  • Exploring unknown or poorly known areas of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone
  • Developing mobile systems deployable from a broad range of platforms in previously unreachable shallows and depths
  • Adopting and integrating surface, aerial, and undersea autonomous vehicles into exploration operations
  • Improving access to and the utility of mission data for educational, commercial, scientific, and public communities

Members of the OECI are committed to delivering:

  • Expertise in scientific disciplines like biology, chemistry, physical dynamics, geology/geophysics, hydrography and ocean mapping, marine archaeology/maritime history, acoustics and telecommunications
  • Excellence in engineering remotely operated vehicles and their on-board sub-systems, autonomous undersea powered vehicles, gliders and autonomous surface vehicles, ship board support systems, sensor and instrumentation development, and mapping and exploration applications
  • Leadership in communications, including telepresence during ocean exploration, to engage and involve the greater U.S. oceanographic community and to excite, motivate and educate future generations.

OECI’s lasting legacy will be a robust set of new ocean exploration concepts, a wide array of technological capabilities, and a wellspring of scientists, engineers, researchers and support professionals that can employ them to the benefit of the nation.