The University of Washington’s selection to host a new research consortium is a testament to the school’s well-earned reputation. It will help advance understanding of climate, ocean dynamics and marine ecosystems, building on the school’s track record of excellence in the field.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week that the UW will lead a new Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies, which includes Oregon State University and University of Alaska Fairbanks. The designation comes with up to $300 million in funding for research into areas such as climate and ocean variability, the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, aquaculture and polar studies, in conjunction with the NOAA labs.

The selection is a testament to the UW’s research prowess: The commitment is nearly triple the last NOAA Cooperative Institute award to UW and formalizes longstanding collaborations among researchers along the West Coast.

Such cooperative agreements augment NOAA’s research capabilities, allowing the federal agency to operate more efficiently while enabling researchers to tackle a broader range of integrated research challenges. The UW has long been a leader in such collaborative work.

For decades, the UW’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean has been at the vanguard of ocean sciences, partnering with research institutions, nongovernmental and government agencies like NOAA to expand the depth and breadth of its research capabilities. This new agreement formalizes those longstanding relationships, said the institute’s Executive Director John K. Horne, a professor in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

About 250 research scientists were involved in putting together the proposal, said Horne, who will also lead the new cooperative institute.


“The more we understand and increase our knowledge, the better we can adapt and manage those resources, the more we can minimize our detrimental impacts and ensure sustainable marine ecosystems,” he said.

By building on complementary research interests, resources and expertise, the consortium can more aggressively tackle some of the more vexing questions and concerns about climate change, fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

It is a well-earned point of pride that UW has been selected to lead the charge.