By Lee Anna Sherman
Over the next 10 years, Oregon State University will be at the forefront of a ship building project that will “revitalize and transform” coastal-ocean science in the United States, says oceanographer and former U.S. Navy and NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad, the university’s vice president of research. OSU has been designated as the lead institution for the design, building and launching of as many as three state-of-the-art research vessels funded by the National Science Foundation.
Officials expect the vessels to be positioned on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, depending on research needs and available funds. The 175-foot vessels will be “floating, multi-use laboratories” that are “more seaworthy and environmentally green” than previous research vessels, says Mark Abbott, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. The first ship will hit the water in 2019 or 2020.