Focused Research

Objectives:Focused Research projects aim to arrive at a substantial level of new insight; to improve conditions in marine ecosystems; and/or provide real solutions to significant maritime problems. The objective is to plan and conduct research jointly with industry and government agencies who act as co-sponsors. These projects often take place over an extended period, during which time the partner agency takes on an increased share of the funding. We feel this is the most effective way to attack major problems of broad interest to the marine community while quickly transfering the resulting technology to industry and government users for further use and development.Methodology:The Focused Research Program is an independent research initiative having equal status with our Advisory and Core Research activities. Principal Investigators seeking to establish a Focused Research Program follow the same submission and peer review process as those applying under the Core Research guidelines. However, these projects require a comprehensive approach where the biological sciences, physical oceanography and engineering disciplines are meshed with public policy and sometimes with educational initiatives. Because the burden of funding is structured over the course of the project to shift onto the partnering agency, these projects wind up being “owned” by the target stakeholder in a very concrete way as their committment to the project and its results are built in to the Focused Research program.Rationale:Resources provided by the Sea Grant College Program can be fruitfully multiplied by the generation of funding from non-Sea Grant sources. Research that might otherwise be conducted as individual projects by faculty from different institutions is required to be coordinated to maximize the benefit obtained from interaction among academic disciplines. Fundamental research will be focused on problems with important implications for the management of the coastal environment. Research results are effectively transferred to users in public agencies and private institutions because their buy-in is structured into the project design. Focused Research projects have created inexpensive, intelligent, autonomous systems and sensors that have revolutionized marine research and data gathering systems.