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, a 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.”

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