NOAA Selects UW And Partners for $300 Million Grant To Establish A Consortium For Climate, Ocean, And Ecosystem Research

In an open competition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has selected the University of Washington (UW) with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and Oregon State University (OSU) to form a new NOAA Cooperative Institute consortium to address the increasing number of climate, ocean, and coastal challenges that demand wider collaborations and the sharing of scientific resources.

clouds, waves, and fish
CICOES will have nine research themes focusing on climate, ocean, and ecosystem research.

The Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) builds on the 42-year history of the UW’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO). CICOES will increase opportunities for regional scientific collaboration, enhance interactions between universities and NOAA laboratories, and contribute critical capacity to help advance NOAA’s research, education, and public engagement goals.

“We’re pleased to announce that the University of Washington will host our new Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies,” said Craig McLean, assistant NOAA administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “This institute will help NOAA achieve our mission to better the ocean and atmosphere, which depends on research, data, and information to make sound decisions for healthy ecosystems, communities, and a strong blue economy.”

The initial award of up to $300 million over the course of five years has the potential to be renewed for another five years based on successful performance.

CICOES, one of 17 Cooperative Institutes nationwide, will continue to be led by Director John K. Horne, a professor in the UW Department of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

“We’re excited to build on JISAO’s research and education traditions through our regional research consortium,” Horne says. “The expanded research and education portfolios will enable us to better serve NOAA’s mission.”

The University of Alaska brings expertise in Arctic science and co-producing science with Indigenous communities, management agencies and other stakeholders. “We are excited to be part of the new consortium and look forward to working collaboratively with UW and OSU to serve NOAA needs particularly in Alaska,” said Uma Bhatt, Professor in Atmospheric Sciences and Associate CICOES director at UAF.

Oregon State University, with internationally recognized programs in ocean and climate science, is also a leader in practical, problem-solving research that improves lives, protects natural resources and drives economic growth to transform our future for the better. “Increasingly, our scientific challenges require novel collaborations that span regional-to-global scales and include the human dimension,” said Roberta Marinelli, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU. “This new Cooperative Institute will provide a wealth of expertise and innovation to advance the science that underpins NOAA’s mission.”

The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. UW’s impact on individuals, our region, and the world is profound — launching young people into a boundless future and confronting grand challenges through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 15 on the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities, UW is home to the largest environmentally-focused college in the United States.

“The challenges we face related to climate, oceans, and coastal ecosystems require ongoing collaboration that crosses sectoral, disciplinary, and geographic boundaries,” said Lisa J. Graumlich, Dean of the College of the Environment and Mary Laird Wood Professor at UW. “This ongoing partnership with NOAA, UAF, and OSU allows us to collaborate at a scale that we have never seen before in the Pacific Northwest. NOAA’s investment leverages our incredible federal and university resources to understand and confront problems that no one institution could tackle alone.”

The grand challenge of this new consortium is to create a research and education enterprise that is greater than the sum of its parts. CICOES aims to advance scientific knowledge and understanding of complex environmental challenges through foundational research, technological development, the integration of human dimensions, and to train the next generation of scientists.

For more information please contact John K. Horne at or 206-221-6890.