The economic value of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) extends far beyond the footprint of its two campuses in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, according to a new study by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.
“We’ve known for a long time that WHOI plays a key role—both directly and indirectly—in promoting the health and vitality of the local economy,” says WHOI President and Director Mark Abbott. “Now we see clear evidence that the Commonwealth, the Northeast, and even some national sectors rely on the knowledge and innovation that we generate.”
WHOI leadership helps ensure that ocean-related issues remain at the forefront of national discussions and that enhanced understanding of the ocean contributes to national defense. Globally, WHOI maintains roughly 200 partnerships with institutions in 75 countries. WHOI’s researchers have collaborated with 8,300 of their colleagues in 75 different countries and hundreds of different organizations over the past 4 years. At the state level, WHOI’s leadership in marine robotics has helped put the Commonwealth at the forefront of the burgeoning robotics industry nationally and internationally.
“We are part of a proud seagoing tradition in our region that goes back hundreds of years,” says David Scully, chairman of the Board of Trustees for WHOI. “This has created a broad base of talent and technology and made our region the global center of excellence for ocean science and exploration. We are the Silicon Valley of the ocean.”
WHOI was founded in 1930 as the first independent non-profit ocean research and education organization. By the 1960s, WHOI established itself as a leader in deep-ocean technology development, including the human-occupied submersible Alvin, which made its first dive in 1964 and rose to popular prominence when researchers used it to investigate the wreck of Titanic in the North Atlantic and to explore newly discovered hydrothermal vent ecosystems in the Pacific.