The ocean is important to humanity and is still mostly unknown. Current methods of studying its interior, boundaries, processes, resources, and changes are slow and expensive, causing management decisions to be made from relatively uninformed and incomplete knowledge. NOAA formed OER to explicitly address these issues, accelerate the pace of discoveries, and increase our understanding of the ocean. OER supports a continuum of ocean science that makes discoveries via exploration and research, and transitions the new knowledge and capabilities to the rest of NOAA, and the national and international science, technology, and ocean management communities. OER integrates science, education, and outreach to raise awareness and increase ocean science literacy. In May 2011, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Strategic Plan FY2011-FY2015 was finalized. It was developed based on agency goals and input from the public. The plan outlines four strategic goals:
OER combines all three of these aspects in its program.
OE has an annual funding opportunity to support its mission, consistent with NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan, to search, investigate, and document poorly-known and unknown areas of the ocean and Great Lakes. OE accomplishes this through interdisciplinary exploration, in order to advance and disseminate knowledge of the ocean environment and its physical, chemical, biological, and marine archaeological resources which furthers ocean education and ocean literacy.
Exploration Funding FAQs
This section provides answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning OER and the proposal process.
NOAA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) NOAA Science Advisory Board is the only Federal Advisory Committee with responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on long- and short-range strategies for research, education and the application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. Members are appointed by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.
SAB activities and advice provide necessary input to ensure that NOAA science programs are of the highest quality and provide optimal support to resource management, and environmental assessment and prediction.
Because of the breadth of subject matter that the group addresses, they frequently consult with additional experts on specific topics. Standing working groups of expertise are established for topics deemed to be of long-term interest for NOAA.
The Ocean Exploration Advisory Working Group Ocean Exploration Advisory Working Group is one such group of experts. The OEAWG consists of approximately nine individuals from academia, government, industry, and other ocean-related institutions. Members are selected by the Chair of the SAB in consultation with the members of the SAB, the Director of the Ocean Exploration Program, and the Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere.
Contact Information for NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research:
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research 1315 East West Highway SSMC III, 10th Floor Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 phone: (301) 734 - 1010 fax: (301) 713 - 4252
Or submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Report of the President's Panel for Ocean Exploration, "Discovering Earth's Final Frontier: A U.S. Strategy for Ocean Exploration," (2000) outlined a vision and a strategy for establishing a national program focused on exploring the world's unknown ocean. The report also provided specific recommendations for mapping and characterizing little known ocean areas and phenomena, developing new sensors and systems to accelerate the pace of ocean exploration, and disseminating the results in new and novel ways to enhance our understanding of the ocean and ocean issues. In response to this report, NOAA established the first federal program deliberately focused on ocean exploration.
In 2009, recognizing the success and value of ocean exploration, Congress officially authorized the NOAA Ocean Exploration Program in Public Law 111-11, Title XII (Oceans), Subtitle A (Ocean Exploration), Part I (Exploration). Similar to the Report of the President's Panel, this law called upon the NOAA program to continue to develop and engage in partnerships with other government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and private industry to truly establish a dedicated national ocean exploration program that will catalyze future research and better inform ocean resource management decisions.
On May 7-8, 2012, a 13-member Ocean Exploration Review Panel conducted the first-ever formal, independent review of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Program. The review was administered under the auspices of, and reported to, the NOAA Science Advisory Board. This review provided a unique opportunity to consider the Program as it has evolved over the past ten years and to make recommendations to position it for even greater success in the future.
The Science Advisory Board accepted the Review Panel's final report during its November meeting, commending NOAA for establishing an innovative ocean exploration program, and encouraging NOAA leadership to continue to lead and support the establishment of a national program as initially envisioned by the President's Panel. The Science Advisory Board referred the report recommendations to NOAA leadership for further action.
Program Review documents and the full report may be downloaded below.
Contact Information for the Ocean Exploration Program Review
Fred Gorell NOAA/OAR/OER 1315 East-West Highway, SSMC3 Silver Spring, MD 20910 phone: (301) 734-1021
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