Marine science congressional briefing focuses on collaboration and opportunities

U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and William Delahunt met with leaders in marine science and technology to discuss major national and global opportunities

Leaders from research institutions, business, and government gathered at UMass Dartmouth today to brief U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and William Delahunt on emerging marine science and technology opportunities and challenges.  The meeting was the first of what is expected to be an annual summit on these issues. 

"It is evident that the worldwide market for marine technology is expanding, and we have an opportunity in our region and on Cape Cod to take advantage of this growing opportunity," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack, who hosted the event. "Collaboration among higher education institutions, industry, and government is critical if we are going to be successful. Today's dialogue is a major step forward in building a partnership worthy of real investment." 

"The South Coast is strongly positioned to develop a marine science and technology industry that will provide good paying jobs, and address emerging homeland security, energy, and environmental issues," said Congressman Frank. "It is encouraging to see UMass Dartmouth, Woods Hole, and MIT collaborating with industry and policy leaders to seize real opportunities." 

"Ocean-related issues represent fundamental challenges and opportunities for Massachusetts, the nation, and indeed the globe," said Congressman Delahunt. "It is exciting to see UMass Dartmouth, Woods Hole and MIT working together to make sure we get both the science and policy right so we can build our economy in a manner that also protects our environment." 

Among those participating in the briefing were: 

* Dr. Richard Spinrad, Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) 
* Dr. Brian Rothschild, Dean of the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology 
* Dr. Henrick Schmidt, MIT 
* Dr. James Luyten, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute 
* Larry Hall, Lockheed Martin/Sippican 
* Christopher Von Alt, Hydroid, Inc. 
* Dr. Clyde Barrow, UMass Dartmouth Center for Policy Analysis 
* William Guenther, Mass Insight Corporation 
* Brian Abraham, Bluefin Robotics/Battelle 

Barrow and Guenther set the stage for the discussion with a description of the marine science and technology industry in New England. Among the highlights: 

* There are approximately 39,000 marine-related jobs and 481 related business establishments in New England. The Massachusetts marine technology industry, which has approximately 8,900 jobs and 298 establishments, is considered an industry "hot spot" because the jobs are in emerging areas such as instrumentation, education, research and services. 

* Global opportunities exist in defense-related equipment manufacturing, ocean and environmental surveying and monitoring, marine science equipment manufacturing, oceanography, consulting, and underwater vehicles. 

* The total economic impact of the marine science and technology industry in Massachusetts, including spin-off effects, is $3 billion in sales of products and services, 22,400 jobs, and $1.26 billion in payroll. 

* The average Massachusetts marine technology annual wage is $56,000, compared to $46,000 for all industries.

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