Schmidt Ocean Institute was established to advance the frontiers of ocean research and exploration through innovative technologies, intelligent observation and analysis, and open sharing of information. 


The world's oceans understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information.


We combine advanced science with state-of-the-art technology to achieve lasting results in ocean research, to catalyze sharing of the information, and to communicate this knowledge to audiences around the world.  We foster a deeper understanding of our environment.

Focus Areas

We approach oceanographic research from the technological, operational, and informational perspectives:  We maintain and operate R/V Falkor as a technologically advanced scientific platform suitable to support multidisciplinary oceanographic research and technology development.  We provide our collaborators with free access to R/V Falkor with her on-board research facilities and expert technical support in exchange for a commitment to openly share and communicate the outcomes of their research, including the raw observations and data.  Our oceanographic research and technology development program is structured around the following focus areas:

1. Advancing At-Sea Research Infrastructure

Due to the large scale of the ocean, substantial ifrastructural innovations will be necessary to instrument and characterize it pervasively, e.g. innovative instrument delivery vehicles, communications, control and power autonomy, etc.  This mission area emphasized oceanographic research projects that make effective use of innovative methods and technologies for cost-efficient characterization of the ocean, such as, for example, robotic remotely controlled or autonomous research platforms and vehicles.

Metrics of Success:  Reduction of efforts and costs necessary to support oceanographic data collection or instrument operation while maintaining or improving the data collection capabilities.  Examples may include the reduction of efforts or costs associated with the deployment, operation, maintenance / provisioning, and data exchange with deployed instruments attributable to the research infrastructure improvements.

2. Instrumenting the Ocean

The ocean is notoriously under-sampled.  Large volumes of ocean are poorly characterized.  This mission area emphasizes oceanographic research projects that promise to make effective exemplary use of or facilitate further development of capabilities for pervasive ocean data collection with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Metrics of Success:  Improvement in spatial and temporal resolution of acquired oceanographic sensor data;  Increase in ocean characterization coverage with deployed instruments.

3. Technology Innovation for Ocean Sciences

Due to the large scale of the ocean, enabling pervasive ocean sensing would require innovative cost-efficient sensors and instruments suitable for being mass-produced, deployed, and reliably operated at sea over extended periods of time without human support.  This focus area emphasizes projects that facilitate or exemplify technical innovation in sensor and instrument design, fabrication, operation, and maintenance aiming to make pervasive ocean characterization more feasible technically and/or economically.

Metrics of Success:  Sensor and instrument cabability and utility advancement while reducing the costs of their design, fabrication, deployment, operation, and maintenance through the improvements in the instrument technology and design.

4. Open Sharing of Information

Limited availability of information about the oceans inhibits the growth of its user community and development of new applications for this information.  By openly sharing the ocean data, we can help create new applications that use this data, which will in turn stimulate the growth of user community, and trigger further exploration, discovery, and deeper understanding of the oceans.

Metrics of Success:  Degree of open availability of collected oceanographic information and data and its utility for the user community.

5. Supporting Hi-Tech Science at Sea

This focus area aims to leverage the SOI research fleet to provide access to sea to our collaborators carrying out oceanographic research as well as development of new methods and technologies for oceanographic data collection, analysis, interpretation, and open sharing.

Metrics of Success:  Number and impact of established effective examples of using technologically advanced innovative scientific methods to support more productive marine science at sea. 

6.  Training the Next Generation of Researchers and Technology Developers

This area focuses on providing opportunities for at-sea training of the next generation of researchers, technology developers, and ocean scientists, who will continue to advance the state of the art in oceanographic research technologies and open sharing of the data about the oceans in the future.

Metrics of Success:  Number and cumulative impact of ocean research and technology development experts inspired by SOI projects and programs.


The following values embody our culture and work practices:

  • Integrity:  We are committed to the highest ethical standards.
  • Accountability:  We honor our commitments.
  • Professionalism:  We take disciplined and informed approach in planning our activities.  We are diligent in execution and performance evaluations.  We learn from both our successes and failures.
  • Collaboration:  We appreciate that our impact is leveraged by the efforts, knowledge, and resources of our collaborators. 
  • Sharing:  We openly share our knowledge and discoveries.
  • Open-mindedness:  We keep our minds open to perspectives that are different from our own.


Schmidt Ocean Institute informs its long term strategic planning efforts through a continuous dialog with the global oceanographic research community.  Please refer to the following links for reports on the findings of our recent 2013 Research Symposium and 2014 Planning Workshop.