FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute with University of North Carolina, Wilmington (Managing Partner) and SRI International and the University of Miami (Limited Partners) established the Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research & Technology (CIOERT) in 2009. CIOERT’s primary NOAA partner is the OAR Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Together, CIOERT and OER address NOAA’s priorities for technology innovation, eastern U.S. continental shelf frontier exploration, and improving understanding of vulnerable deep and shallow coral and sponge ecosystems. CIOERT’s partner institutions and collaborators comprise an exceptional depth and breadth of experience in the CIOERT’s theme areas. CIOERT continues to build on the foundation of this scientific, operational, technological, and academic expertise by developing integrated, innovative approaches that directly address NOAA needs and national research priorities.
The CIOERT mission is to:
- build NOAA’s technical capacity through development and application of advanced undersea technologies, and transition of new technical capabilities to NOAA operations: technology development and research is accomplished through systematic innovation that creates products and services of value to NOAA, incremental and transformational innovations, and transition of new technologies and approaches to NOAA and the nation’s science community;
- explore and research shelf and slope frontiers off the US east coast (from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico): take shelf explorers, scientists, technologists, and educators to the edge of the EEZ and beyond, using safe, flexible, and efficient platforms capable of testing new technologies and serving NOAA mission needs; frontiers include deep, mesophotic, and shallow coral ecosystems, and hot spots of economic value, scientific interest, or historic importance; translate and incorporate discovery and knowledge into decisions regarding ocean resource management, ecosystem health, and nature and impacts of climate change; and
- promote ocean literacy and build technical and scientific work force for NOAA: education activities will emphasize delivery of education and outreach experiences and products to a world-wide audience and classroom; university students, the work force of tomorrow, will be exposed to ocean exploration and advanced technologies through hands-on experiences, mentors, and world-class training programs.
CIOERT accomplishes these mission objectives through innovation and new partnerships, both with NOAA and among the CIOERT partners and collaborators.
CIOERT projects address the following themes and broader impacts:
- Theme 1: Develop advanced underwater technologies; expand the pace, scope and efficiency of exploration and research by developing, testing, and applying new and innovative uses of existing technologies to ocean exploration and NOAA research activities.
- Theme 2: Explore and research frontier regions of the eastern U.S. continental shelf and beyond; our focus is on exploration and research of ecosystems and habitats of economic, hazardous, scientific, or cultural importance as defined by OER.
- Theme 3: Explore and research vulnerable deep and shallow coral and sponge ecosystems. Our priority activities include supporting ocean exploration and research using advanced underwater technologies and techniques to improve understanding of coral and sponge ecosystems.
- Broader impact and workforce development: CIOERT promotes ocean literacy and builds technical and scientific work force in NOAA-relevant disciplines; our emphasis is on delivery of education and outreach experiences and products to a world-wide audience and classroom; university and high school students, the NOAA-relevant work force of tomorrow, will be exposed to ocean exploration and research and development of advanced technologies through hands-on experiences, mentors, and training programs.