Schmidt Ocean Institute is – when possible – inviting interested researchers to carry out opportunistic research during R/V Falkor repositioning transits.

The transit dates are inclusive of additional at-sea days beyond the number of days expected for Falkor to make the voyage, without any deviations from the most expeditious course, at 10.5 knots. Participating researchers will be able to use many of the embedded scientific instrumentation and systems in support of their projects. Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Marine Technicians will be available to support the proposed shipboard research activities.

Schmidt Ocean Institute is uniquely structured as an oceanographic research facility operator on a mission to transform ocean sciences with innovation in research technologies, marine operational practices, and information sharing. We seek to advance the frontiers of global ocean research by providing state of the art operational, technological, and informational support to pioneering marine science and technology development projects at sea. Our select collaborators are provided with free access to research vessel Falkor, its on-board research facilities and equipment, and associated expert technical, operational, and informational support.

What We Support

Schmidt Ocean Institute does not provide for the costs of shoreside scientific activities at our collaborator’s host institutions, travel, or scientists’ salaries. However, through this program, individuals looking to conduct scientific research, oceanographic technology development, testing, demonstrations, or other activities relevant to Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Vision and Mission are invited to join our transits between ports.

Our research program development efforts are informed through a continuous dialogue with the global oceanographic research community. For examples, please refer to the following links for reports on the research program development recommendations resulting from our 2017 Coral Reef Initiative Planning Meeting2015 Planning Workshop, 2014 Planning Workshop, and 2013 Research Symposium.

Our supported projects:

  • will have strong promise to advance global ocean research and exploration through effective, exemplary use of innovative technologies – or will be focused on advancing scientific technologies and practices, through research, development, and testing at sea,
  • will be likely to produce scalable impact, may be out of funding focus of other agencies, e.g. due to high risk, yet will offer an even higher potential reward,
  • will substantially and uniquely benefit from a collaboration with Schmidt Ocean Institute onboard Falkor,
  • will be fully committed to openly sharing the research findings and resulting scientific data and publications.

No Transits Are Currently Available to Support Opportunistic Research

The cruise dates are current best estimates and may be subject to adjustment by up to several days to satisfy the requirements of ongoing cruise planning and program development activities. The cruise destinations are not expected to change, however, cruise courses may be influenced by weather and other logistical requirements. Vessel speed may be adjusted to support sampling and data collection as needed.


  • What are the goals of the project and its intended scientific, technological, and operational impacts?
  • How will this work contribute to the strategic interests of Schmidt Ocean Institute?
  • How will the proposed research activities affect the Falkor repositioning transit?
    • How will the Falkor transit route be affected by the proposed research activities?
    • What will be the timeline of the research activities during the transit?
  • What Falkor research facilities and instruments will be used?
  • What additional equipment will be used and where will it be obtained (if not already owned by host institution)?
  • Are there any parts of the project that have already been funded?
  • Schmidt Ocean Institute does not offer support for any land-based scientific activities, travel, or scientist’s salaries. How will these costs be funded?

General Evaluation Criteria

In alignment with the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Focus Areas of Schmidt Ocean Institute, our review process will use the following general criteria to evaluate the applications for this opportunity for research:

1. Opportunities to demonstrate innovation in marine scientific operations and practices

Questions for Consideration: How efficient are the proposed data collection methods? How well are the proposed research plans (for scientific observations, experimentation, data and sample collections at sea) informed by the analysis and interpretation of new observations and data collected during the cruise? How well are the proposed data collection platforms and methods matched to the proposed observations and research objectives?

2. Opportunities for the advancement of ocean research technologies, practices, and methods  

Questions for Consideration: Do the project objectives include R&D, prototyping, or testing of new oceanographic technologies, practices, or methods? How significant are the implications of the proposed technology/ methodology R&D for ocean sciences? How clearly is the proposed R&D approach articulated? How well does the proposed R&D approach address the key pertinent project challenges?

3. Evidence of significant intrinsic intellectual merit and impact potential

Questions for Consideration: How important is the proposed research for ocean sciences? How significant are the implications of the proposed research for the society? What is the quality of the proposed research plan? How comprehensively does the proposed research plan address the stated project objectives?

4. Quality of the data sharing plan

Questions for Consideration: How rapidly will the collected data be QA/QC’d, integrated, post-processed and shared with the public? What fraction of the data will be processed and made available to the public over the Internet during the cruise? How well is the data sharing plan adhering to the accepted community data management standards? How well are the proposed data repositories matched to the collected data types? Are there any data for which the mechanisms of sharing with the public are not well defined?

5. Quality of the proposed outreach plan

Questions for Consideration: How effectively will the data collected during the cruise be interpreted, visualized, and communicated to the broad audiences? What new method of data and knowledge interpretation are proposed as part of the communications and outreach program? What opportunities will be offered for the engagement of citizen scientists? How interactive is the proposed outreach plan?


Data Management

Underway data collected using embedded instrument systems on R/V Falkor during the research cruises will be made available to the general public via Schmidt Ocean Institute’s partnership with the Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R) program. The data types curated by R2R can be found here.

Sensor-based marine geoscience data, such as robotic vehicle still images, metadata, and processed multibeam data will be made available via Schmidt Ocean Institute’s partnership with Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS). The data types curated by MGDS can be found here.

Schmidt Ocean Institute collaborates with the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) on the quality assurance of the multibeam mapping system operation onboard R/V Falkor and the collected data. Our collaborators from CCOM conduct annual testing and calibration of R/V Falkor’s multibeam echosounders to ensure the high quality of the collected multibeam data. As that may be necessary, SOI can coordinate with CCOM to organize post-processing of raw collected multibeam data, e.g. if it is not possible for the science party to process the data onboard Falkor during the cruise.

Additional partnerships with University of Hawaii Data Acquisition System (UHDAS) and Florida State University Shipboard Automated Meteorological and Oceanographic System (SAMOS) provide quality assurance for the data collected with the R/VFalkor’s Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and meteorological instrumentation respectively. These data are continuously collected onboard Falkor, sent to UHDAS and SAMOS in near real-time for quality assurance, and archived in R2R post-cruise.

Schmidt Ocean Institute currently does not have established partnerships to archive data related to physical samples, such as e.g. biological specimens, outcomes of genetic analysis, or data collected with third-party specialized instruments brought on board. We encourage the proponents to carefully consider how all types of data sets collected during the proposed research cruises will be post-processed, managed, and shared with the public – particularly focusing on those types of data, for which SOI currently does not have a well-established management workflow.

General Outreach

For all cruises, one berth aboard Falkor is reserved for a Schmidt Ocean Institute multimedia journalist. This individual is responsible for managing blogs, website maintenance, press interaction, some photo and video capture, and facilitates ship-to-shore communications. Schmidt Ocean Institute encourages applications that provide innovative and unique outreach opportunities which go beyond what is already offered. Schmidt Ocean Institute currently does not provide assistance with the following projects, but welcomes applications that wish to include:

  • Citizen science development and projects
  • Technology development for outreach (e.g.) websites, 3-D modeling, image tagging, etc.
  • Related curriculum or lesson plan development
  • Collaborations with educators, education institutions, museums and aquariums
  • Collaborations with artists, art installation projects, or related arts-based activities
  • Featured stories or articles with magazines, papers, television programs
  • Documentaries or broadcast programing
  • Multidisciplinary outreach programs or projects