iSchool joins Ocean Nexus research partnership

The Information School is among the University of Washington units partnering in the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, an interdisciplinary research group announced June 30.

The Ocean Nexus Center will study changes, responses and solutions to societal issues that emerge in relation to the oceans and will bring uncompromised, critical voices to policy and public conversations. The center was launched with $32.5 million in funding spread over 10 years.

“The sustenance of humanity depends on our mother ocean,” said Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation. “And so today, I am happy to announce this new partnership with the University of Washington to embark on a long-term commitment to ensure our ocean’s health, 10,000 years into the future. As an NGO that brings together diverse stakeholders to address the complex challenges facing our oceans, we felt that partnering with the University of Washington, a world leader in not only the ocean and environment, but in multidisciplinary collaboration and research, was a perfect fit. I am excited that the next generation of thought leaders will be emerging from this center to share their research findings to guide the world toward ocean sustainability.”

Based on the philosophy of passing on sustainable oceans to future generations, The Nippon Foundation of Tokyo has been working for more than three decades with governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations and research institutions to foster 1,430 ocean professionals from 150 countries. The Ocean Nexus Center will be housed in UW EarthLab, an institute established in 2015 to connect UW research with community partners to discover equitable solutions to our most complex environmental challenges.

“Ocean Nexus exists to bridge the gap between decision makers, policymakers and the communities most affected and dependent on the oceans,” said Yoshitaka Ota, the Center’s director and a research assistant professor in UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. “This is a chance to do something bold and really push the boundaries of understanding our relationship with oceans, and that’s what I’m excited to do.”

The Center aims to build the next generation of ocean thought leadership by offering opportunities, networks and training for early-career interdisciplinary scholars. The research is global and seeks to embrace cultural diversity and community sovereignty. In addition to the iSchool, current UW partners include the School of Public Health and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance.

Information for this story was originally published by UW News.