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Schmidt Ocean Institute

Does Schmidt Ocean Institute have scientists or researchers on staff?

Schmidt Ocean Institute does not have resident scientists or researchers on staff. You can view Schmidt Ocean Institute’s team here. All the scientists and researchers brought on board Falkor have applied for ship time and are members of collaborating universities and institutions.

Does Schmidt Ocean Institute directly fund the scientists and researchers who work aboard Falkor?

No, Schmidt Ocean Institute is not a grant giving organization. We provide our collaborators with free access to Falkor and expert technical shipboard support in exchange for a commitment to openly share and communicate the outcomes of their research, including the raw observations and data.

Which organizations are partners with Schmidt Ocean Institute?

Schmidt Ocean Institute has over 85 collaborators and this number continues to grow with every new research group that comes aboard Falkor. More information on associations and collaborators can be found here.

How can my organization become a partner with Schmidt Ocean Institute?

Schmidt Ocean Institute collaborates with ocean researchers and technology developers from many organizations in a variety of areas, including seagoing oceanographic research and technology development, advancement of operational workflows, software development, data management, outreach programs, etc.

Is Schmidt Ocean Institute a member of the US based University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS)?

No, Schmidt Ocean Institute is not a member of the UNOLS but we do collaborate closely with UNOLS and members of UNOLS.  Schmidt Ocean Institute is a member of the International Research Ship Organization (IRSO).

Research Vessel Falkor

Does the Falkor have a homeport?

Falkor sails under the Cayman Islands flag registry, but has no actual homeport. Falkor is a truly international vessel that is not tethered to any geographic location. As a working science ship, Falkor is constantly on the move, maximizing her flexibility for discoveries and projects.

How old do you have to be to join a science party and sail aboard Falkor?

The minimum age to sail aboard Falkor is 18, however, we will take younger students onboard for community tours.

Education and Community Outreach  

Does Schmidt Ocean Institute exhibit at conferences and trade shows?

Yes, Schmidt Ocean Institute does exhibit at select ocean science and technology conferences and trade shows. If you would like Schmidt Ocean Institute  to exhibit at your event, please send requests to and let us know where, when, and the type of event you are hosting. Please note we do not offer conference or trade show sponsorship and may not be able to attend to all requests.

How can I set up a tour of Falkor for my group?

As a working ship, Falkor is constantly on the move and must optimize her infrequent time in port. As a result, community tours are typically limited to one afternoon in each port. Please note that we cannot accommodate groups larger than 30 at one time. If you are in a port where Falkor is heading and are interested in a group tour, please send a request to with the number of people you are requesting to come onboard and your affiliation. We do our best to share the experience of Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel with the community.

How can I become a sea-going marine technician and learn to use all the amazing scientific equipment and systems aboard Falkor?

Visit our Careers at Sea page for detailed advice and personal insight from Schmidt Ocean Institute’s team. You can also contact us about student opportunities and possible internships onboard Falkor. There are several unique programs around the world to help people move into a career of working aboard research ships as a marine technician, such as the Marine Advanced Technology Education program in Monterey, California USA.

Data and Information Sharing

How can I stay updated on where Falkor will be sailing and when there will be live video streaming?

You can find the cruise plans and details for each year on the Schmidt Ocean Institute webpage under cruises. While at sea, the Falkor status page will also provide you with live cruise tracks and data. During cruises with live streaming, notifications will go up on our website and social media pages. All remotely operated vehicle dives are streamed live to our YouTube page, and can be found on our cruise playlists. We also update the Schmidt Ocean Institute Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages often to keep everyone connected to current events and opportunities.

Where can I find all the data that has been collected by the scientists and researchers who have sailed aboard Falkor?

Schmidt Ocean Institute has an open data sharing policy. All data can be found listed by individual cruise or through our data collaborations. Underway data collected using embedded instrument systems on Falkor during research cruises and transits are made available to the general public via Schmidt Ocean Institute’s partnership with Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R). Live data can also be seen through the Falkor Status page that shows current position and ship track, weather and seawater sensor data in real-time, and when available, live video streams from Falkor. Other data including remotely operated vehicle video streams and sensor-based marine geoscience data can be found on our Data page.

Does Schmidt Ocean Institute have an app for iOS and Android devices?

No, not yet. The best way to keep of Schmidt Ocean Institute and Falkor’s activities are through our website and social media pages. We update the Schmidt Ocean Institute Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages often to keep everyone connected to current events and opportunities.

Where is all the data archived that is collected by Falkor embedded sensors?

You can view Falkor’s embedded sensor data in real time through the Falkor Status page that shows weather and seawater sensor data. Other shipboard data is available through Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R).

Research Vessel Falkor Operations

Are the Falkor workboats available for scientific data collection and work?

Yes, the workboats are available for scientific use.

Our research team is working to maximize the roles of individuals invited to take part in our proposed cruise. Will we be required to include a technician to process and generate bathymetric maps from the data collected by the multi-beam or can Falkor technicians conduct the processing?

It is possible for the Falkor marine technicians to support the processing of multibeam mapping data. However, the marine technicians may not be able to be dedicated to that single task on a cruise as they have numerous responsibilities which may add constraints to the amount of processing that could take place during your cruise. Chief scientists who desire multibeam mapping are requested to supply in their science party sufficient numbers of personnel trained in the use of multibeam echosounders to stand watches during data acquisition and for shipboard post processing.

Are piston coring and remotely operated vehicle dive operations feasible for the Falkor during the same cruise?

Piston corers are usually heavy, long, and sometimes difficult to handle. Because of the operations involved and equipment needed, piston corers cannot be executed from every research vessel. Special handling equipment is required to safely launch and recover a deep sea piston coring system. Due to large tensions that can be induced inside of the winch wire when pulling the piston cores from the sediment, this type of sampling usually requires the use of heavy oceanographic wire and winches, some of which Falkor may not be able to accommodate. We currently anticipate that Falkor winches will be able to accommodate 0.322″ electromechanical cable (with the working load of up to 17.1 kN or 3,800 lbf) and 0.393″ electro-opto-mechanical cable (with the working load of 15 kN or 3,400 lbf) in 2016.

Would it be possible to add a new component to our full proposal that was not included in our expression of interest? Would rock dredging be capable from the Falkor?

Yes, you may add new components to your research plan. Falkor is capable of supporting rock dredging from its stern mounted A-frame but the ship is presently not outfitted with an embedded or bolt-on winch capable of dredge operations. If dredging operations are required then a portable winch would need to be installed on the Falkor’s aft working deck which may have a working and storage space impact to the complementary science and therefore should be carefully reviewed. Should rock dredging operations require a larger diameter cable that the type Falkor is currently outfitted with (0.322″ electromechanical cable), it will be necessary to verify that Falkor’s A-Frame is capable of safely supporting the elevated cable tensions.

Schmidt Ocean Institute Proposals

Will Schmidt Ocean Institute consider piggy-back cruises or science-of-opportunity during transits between cruises?

Yes, Schmidt Ocean Institute is happy to consider piggy-back cruises or science-of-opportunity during transits between cruises. We also will consider student opportunities and Artist-At-Sea berths during transits. Check out the Serendipitous Side Trip cruise for a previous science-of-opportunity example.