New Wave Media

June 29, 2022

Schmidt Ocean Institute, National Geographic Society Partner on Diversity

On April 13th 2021, research assistant and honours student Declan Stick collects a water samples from ROV SuBastian after its third dive (407). One of Declan’s role is to filter the water and prepare the samples to be analysed for eDNA by researchers at University of Western Australia. The science party led by Dr Karen Miller alongside other scientists and students from Western Australian Museum, University of Western Australia and Curtin University will be exploring mesophotic coral at Ashmore

On April 13th 2021, research assistant and honours student Declan Stick collects a water samples from ROV SuBastian after its third dive (407). One of Declan’s role is to filter the water and prepare the samples to be analysed for eDNA by researchers at University of Western Australia. The science party led by Dr Karen Miller alongside other scientists and students from Western Australian Museum, University of Western Australia and Curtin University will be exploring mesophotic coral at Ashmore

Schmidt Ocean Institute and the National Geographic Society announced a program to advance diversity and equity among ocean scientists. The partnership is intending to provide seagoing opportunities to underrepresented, historically marginalized and local scientists and National Geographic Explorers.

The collaboration aims to strengthen project leadership, encourage career development, and amplify diverse perspectives in ocean-related work. This partnership aligns with both organizations’ commitments to provide equitable access to resources and career opportunities. Both Schmidt Ocean Institute and National Geographic Society have extensive expertise and years of investment in ocean sciences and exploration.

"We are proud to work with Schmidt Ocean Institute, which shares our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity, so that we can provide crucial resources to make ocean sciences research more accessible and foster a diverse coalition of ocean Explorers,” said Jill Tiefenthaler, CEO of the National Geographic Society. “The ocean science community, like other communities, is stronger when it is made up of a diversity of people who contribute their unique perspectives, new ideas, and innovative solutions.”

As part of the collaboration, National Geographic Society and Schmidt Ocean Institute will identify scientists and National Geographic Explorers representing different countries and identities and invite them to begin expeditions on the newly refitted state-of-the-art research vessel, Falkor (too). Opportunities will also be available for global participants through Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Artist-at-Sea and Berths of Opportunity programs.

Through this new initiative, the two organizations will provide participants with support and resources to strengthen their leadership in ocean-related work. The organizations will focus on diverse early- and mid-career ocean scientists and Explorers to develop a forward-thinking, inclusive, and equitable community of researchers.

“As in the practice of so many sciences, the study of marine ecosystems has been missing the perspectives of researchers from communities of color and countries in the Global South,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder with her husband Eric, of Schmidt Ocean Institute and president of the Schmidt Family Foundation. “We look forward to joining the National Geographic Society in welcoming all aboard in the essential and deeply collaborative work of exploring and understanding our ocean.”

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development launched in 2021, and focuses on strengthening scientific research and innovative technologies, as well as engaging different stakeholders. The collaboration between National Geographic Society and Schmidt Ocean Institute addresses this exact goal, and the two organizations will work together to increase capacities and representation of diverse scientists and storytellers by providing opportunities that encourage career growth.

“The ocean is critical to life on this planet and to understand it and maintain its health, we need knowledgeable scientists from all countries. We are delighted to partner with the National Geographic Society to enhance that critical international capacity in the ocean sciences, and also address the goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Science,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. 


Caleb Hsu (first year undergraduate student at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa) assists Dr. Alyson Santoro gathering water samples once the CTD rosette is back onboard. Image copyright Schmidt Ocean Institute

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