Dr. Victor Zykov leads the development of research programs and strategic initiatives for Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) with the goal to advance the understanding of the world’s oceans through technological innovation, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information. As Director of Research, Victor interacts with the broad international community of ocean scientists and technology developers to facilitate their participation in scientific collaborations with Schmidt Ocean Institute, including seagoing research onboard the globally capable research vessel Falkor.
Since the foundation of SOI in 2009, Victor has led every round of strategic program planning for the organization. He established and oversees the open proposal solicitation and merit-based review and selection processes. He supports the resulting scientific collaborations through their completion and delivery of scientific outcomes, data, and information products to the public. Victor works closely with the SOI Marine Operations department on the implementation of the planned research programs, as well as the introduction of new advanced research facilities, such as, for example, the remotely operated vehicle Subastian, live HD video and data streaming from R/V Falkor, and high performance shipboard cloud computing.
Previously, Dr. Zykov coordinated the development of science mission requirements and related refit specifications for the SOI research vessel Falkor and previous SOI ship Lone Ranger. Victor oversaw the scientific refit for both vessels as Director of Engineering and Director of Operations in 2009-2011. Between 2012 and 2014, Victor concurrently served as a consulting Director of Research at the Marine Science and Technology Foundation, where he ran open calls for proposals in oceanographic technology research and development, identifying and providing initial seed support to the future disruptive innovators in marine robotics, such as OpenROV and Saildrone.
His professional and research interests span several areas of science and technology including intelligent robotic exploration of natural unstructured environments, new sensor and communication technologies, renewable energy, modular self-healing, self-reconfigurable, and self-reproducing robotics, evolutionary or data-driven system optimization, under-informed structural system identification, and process automation. His research was published in some of the world’s most respected scientific journals, including Nature and Science. His self-reproducing robots Molecubes were on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Victor earned his Master’s of Science and Doctor’s of Philosophy degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Robotics) from Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY, and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Engineering and Technology Summa Cum Laude in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Automation, and Electromechanical Drive Systems from Ivanovo State Power Engineering University in Ivanovo, Russia.