UW News

May 21, 2020

NOAA selects UW to host new, regional institute for climate, ocean and ecosystem research

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced May 20 that it has selected the University of Washington to host NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean and Ecosystem Studies.

The new regional consortium will include faculty and staff at the UW, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Oregon State University. Members will contribute expertise, research capacity, technological development, help train the next generation of NOAA scientists, and conduct public education and outreach.

The selection comes with an award of up to $300 million over five years, with the potential for renewal for another five years based on successful performance.

The purpose of the cooperative institute is to facilitate and conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research to support NOAA’s mission; educate and prepare the next generation of scientists to be technically skilled, environmentally literate and reflect the national diversity; and engage and educate the citizenry of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and the nation about human-caused impacts on ecosystem health and socioeconomic sustainability.

The new cooperative institute will address some of the major research themes that have been the focus of NOAA’s previous cooperative institute hosted by UW, the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, including climate and ocean changes and impacts, and will expand to include new research areas and involve additional universities.

“We’re excited to build on JISAO’s research and education traditions through our regional research consortium,” said director John Horne, professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “The expanded research and education portfolios will enable us to better serve NOAA’s mission.”

The center’s members will work alongside scientists at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center and Northwest Fisheries Science Center, all based in Seattle.

“The challenges we face related to climate, oceans, and coastal ecosystems require ongoing collaboration that crosses sectoral, disciplinary and geographic boundaries,” said Lisa J. Graumlich, Dean of the College of the Environment and Mary Laird Wood Professor at UW. “This ongoing partnership with NOAA, UAF and OSU allows us to collaborate at a scale that we have never seen before in the Pacific Northwest. NOAA’s investment leverages our incredible federal and university resources to understand and confront problems that no one institution could tackle alone.”

“This is a big win for the University of Washington,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). “Since 1977, the UW has known what we all know now: that a healthy environment supports a robust ocean economy. Now, at a time when research dollars are critical, NOAA is nearly tripling its investment in the world-class ocean science conducted at the UW. The new Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies will expand on the UW’s legacy of success by conducting new research into the impacts of climate and ocean variability, environmental chemistry and ocean carbon, and changing marine ecosystems.”

“The selection of UW to lead NOAA’s new Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies is great news for our region as we work to combat climate change,” added Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Port Angeles. “With our communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, having more federal dollars invested in Washington state and more expertise at our research institutions will help our entire region take steps to mitigate the impacts, build more resilient communities, and continue to lead the way.”

NOAA supports 17 cooperative institutes consisting of 57 universities and research institutions in 23 states and the District of Columbia. These research institutions provide educational programs that promote student and postdoctoral scientist involvement in NOAA-funded research.

“We are pleased to announce that the University of Washington will host our new Cooperative  Institute for Climate, Ocean and Ecosystem Studies,” said Craig McLean, assistant NOAA administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “This institute will help NOAA achieve our mission to better the ocean and atmosphere, which depends on research, data and information to make sound decisions for healthy ecosystems, communities and a strong blue economy.”


For more information, contact Horne at jhorne@uw.edu or 206-221-6890; Jed Thompson, JISAO communications, at jedthom@uw.edu; and Monica Allen, NOAA Communications, at 202-379-6693 or monica.allen@noaa.gov.