Press Release /

New Partnership Between Schmidt Ocean Institute and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO to Support Ocean Decade


PARIS, FRANCE — The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO),  the United Nations body responsible for championing global ocean science and services, announced today a new partnership to work together with philanthropic non-profit, Schmidt Ocean Institute to advance the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Institute’s research vessel Falkor will collect ocean data that will feed knowledge generation throughout the Ocean Decade during a January deep sea mapping expedition off the Coral Sea Marine Park in Australia. This will add to the over 50,000 square kilometers of sea floor mapped to date during their expeditions in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea Marine Parks in 2020. 

The Ocean Decade begins in January and will bring together scientists and stakeholders from many sectors to generate scientific knowledge needed for informing policies to support a resilient, and sustainable ocean.

“I have always been impressed with Schmidt Ocean Institute’s achievements in oceanography. Now is the time to address ocean issues and we can only do this together,” said Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC-UNESCO’s executive secretary. “Through the Decade, the IOC is trying to offer philanthropies an impressive and coherent program of work, and this is a historic transformation to upscale the important work they are doing.”

Schmidt Ocean Institute’s contribution to the Ocean Decade will focus on advancing ocean technologies, marine research and data opportunities, communication and outreach, and enhancing ocean literacy. In February, Schmidt Ocean Institute will also host a two-day virtual symposium to showcase the on-going impacts of past expeditions across the globe and highlight future initiatives on technology and ocean research and exploration.

Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Remotely Operated Vehicle SuBastian on research vessel Falkor’s aft deck.

“We look forward to working together with all of the Decade partners to increase visibility into the global Ocean and help to ignite passion for the ocean sciences,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “We are challenging how ocean research is conducted, working to make it more inclusive for the global marine science community, more consequential for governments and industry, and more compelling for the public.”

“Schmidt Ocean Institute is proud to be a partner of the UN Ocean Decade, working alongside the UN and the IOC to help characterize and transform ocean research on an international scale,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “We are committed to improving our understanding and health of the ocean through robust scientific research and technology.”

To learn more about this partnership, watch the announcement here. Partnership signing photos available here 

About the UN Decade
Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.

About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.

About Schmidt Ocean Institute
Schmidt Ocean Institute was established in 2009 by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to advance oceanographic research through the development of innovative technologies, open sharing of information and broad communication about ocean health. For more information, visit

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