Schmidt Ocean Institute was established to advance the frontiers of ocean research and exploration through innovative technologies, intelligent observation and analysis, and open sharing of information.  

We approach oceanographic research from the technological, operational, and informational perspectives:  We maintain and operate R/V Falkor as a technologically advanced scientific platform suitable to support multidisciplinary oceanographic research and technology development.  We provide our collaborators with free access to R/V Falkor with her on-board research facilities and expert technical support in exchange for a commitment to openly share and communicate the outcomes of their research, including the raw observations and data.


The world's oceans understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information.


We combine advanced science with state-of-the-art technology to achieve lasting results in ocean research, to catalyze sharing of the information, and to communicate this knowledge to audiences around the world.  We foster a deeper understanding of our environment.

Strategic Focus Areas

Schmidt Ocean Institute works to advance the frontiers of global marine research by providing state of the art operational, technological, and informational support to the pioneering ocean science and technology development projects at sea.  Our program is structured around the following key focus areas:

1. Commitment to Excellence in Oceanographic Research Operations

Excellence in sea-going operations of scientific research vessels is critical to accelerating the pace of global marine science.  Schmidt Ocean Institute is dedicated to supporting advanced marine science on R/V Falkor, including the following systems and activities:

  • Technical and operational improvements of Falkor as a research platform
  • Support of innovative shipboard embedded scientific instruments and systems
  • Support of remote research via telepresence and satellite data streaming
  • Shipboard high performance computing for at-sea modeling and data analysis

2. Infrastructure, Platform, and Technology Development for Marine Sciences

Technology innovation drives scientific progress.  Schmidt Ocean Institute supports at-sea testing and development of new scientific robotic vehicles, instruments, platforms, computational algorithms for data analysis and interpretation, and artificial intelligence systems, including the following technologies and activities:

  • Robotic research vehicles (HROV, ROV, AUV, ASV, UAV, gliders, etc.)
  • Deployable scientific platforms and analytical instruments (sensors, observatories, etc.)
  • At-sea R&D of new technologies and computational algorithms on SOI vessels and vehicles
  • Technology focused R&D projects as part of Falkor cruise program

3. Collaborative Scientific Research aboard Falkor

Schmidt Ocean Institute provides researchers from around the world with access to Falkor to foster a deeper understanding of the global ocean through technological innovation.  We support the following types of projects:

  • Environmentally focused and societally relevant ocean research
  • Projects with high intrinsic scientific value and meaningful impact potential
  • Research effectively leveraging innovative technologies
  • Oceanographic research encouraging student participation

4. Communications, Education, and Outreach Program

"The purpose of this ship, as she leaves on her various missions, is to communicate about the science of the oceans to people so that they can care about it.  We can't take care of something that we don't understand and we can't care if we don't know." - Wendy Schmidt, March 6, 2012.  Our communications program includes the following activities:

  • Telling the story about every project we support aboard Falkor
  • Supporting continuous online presence and resources for our virtual visitors
  • Holding workshops and symposia to discuss progress and future directions
  • Encouraging partnerships, as well as student, and educator participation

5. Open Sharing of Information, Data, and Research Outcomes

Schmidt Ocean Institute supports open sharing of information about the ocean to stimulate the growth of its applications and user community, and amplify further exploration, discovery, and deeper understanding of our environment.  These efforts are supported through partnerships with data management experts in the oceanographic community to enable standards-compliant sharing of scientific information and data collected during research cruises.


The following values embody our culture and work practices:

  • Integrity:  We are committed to the highest ethical standards.
  • Accountability:  We honor our commitments.
  • Professionalism:  We take disciplined and informed approach in planning our activities.  We are diligent in execution and performance evaluations.  We learn from both our successes and failures.
  • Collaboration:  We appreciate that our impact is leveraged by the efforts, knowledge, and resources of our collaborators. 
  • Sharing:  We openly share our knowledge and discoveries.
  • Open-mindedness:  We keep our minds open to perspectives that are different from our own.


Schmidt Ocean Institute informs its long term strategic planning efforts through a continuous dialog with the global oceanographic research community.  Please refer to the following links for reports on the findings of our recent 2013 Research Symposium2014 Planning Workshop, and 2015 Planning Workshop.