Vision, Mission, and Top Issues

Major Issues and Guiding Principles for UNOLS

Table of Contents:

UNOLS Vision and Mission Statements

Vision - The US Ocean Science research and education programs are healthy and vigorous, thanks to broad access to the best possible mix of modern, capable, efficiently run, and well-operated research vessels, aircraft, submersibles and other major shared-use facilities.

Mission - UNOLS provides a primary forum through which the ocean research and education community, research facility operators and the supporting Federal agencies work cooperatively to improve access, scheduling, operation, and capabilities of current and future academic oceanographic facilities.

What the Charter Says

The UNOLS Charter was originally adopted in 1972 and serves as the bylaws and guiding document for operation of the organization. The introduction and objectives underscore the overall purpose of UNOLS

Recognizing the need for coordinated use of federally supported oceanographic facilities, the community of academic oceanographic institutions, which use and operate those facilities, by virtue of this Charter, do hereby establish an organization of academic oceanographic institutions. The organization shall be named the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). UNOLS is solely an advisory body. Execution and enforcement of its recommendations are matters for member institutions and for agencies, which fund the construction and operation of UNOLS facilities. 

An objective of UNOLS is to coordinate and review the access to and utilization of facilities for academic oceanographic research, and the current match of facilities to the needs of academic oceanographic programs. UNOLS makes appropriate recommendations of priorities for replacing, modifying or improving the numbers and mix of facilities for the community of users. Another objective is to foster federal and other support for academic oceanography, thereby continuing and enhancing the excellence of this nation's oceanographic program. Emphasis is placed on ships and other seagoing facilities.

Standing Goals:

1. Promote broad, coordinated access to oceanographic research facilities

2. Maintain a system and procedures that facilitate and promote broad access to research vessels and other major ocean science facilities.

3. Support coordinated, efficient and effective scheduling of research vessels and facilities.

4. Support continuous improvement of existing facilities

5. Foster co-operation among facility operators, funding agencies and research scientists with the goal of continuously improving the quality and capability of existing ocean science facilities and the quality, reliability and safety of their operation.

6. Plan for and foster support for the oceanographic facilities of the future

7. Provide leadership and broad community input to the process of planning for and supporting the improvement, renewal and addition of facilities required to support the ocean sciences in the future.

Goals for 2019/2020:

1.  Continuing - Improve quality of life and morale at sea (food, exercise, internet)

2.  New UNOLS Goal - Develop a UNOLS Policy regarding Cyber Security, Infrastructure, and Bandwidth monitoring and usage.

Goals for 2017/2018:

1. Improve quality of life and morale at sea (food, exercise, fun, internet).

2. Ensure a smooth transition for the new UNOLS Office, including analysis of existing structure and suggestions for future changes. 

Goals for 2015/2016:

​1. To establish an ad hoc committee on Privacy, Pregnancy and Harassment. This committee will be charged with researching current policies and practices aboard UNOLS ships regarding protected personal information medical history forms, participation at sea for pregnant and provisions for nursing women, and other issues as identified. The committee will also work to make existing policies more transparent for all.

Goals for 2014/2015:

1. A broad spectrum of US industries have direct interests in oceanographic research, including those directly involved in manufacturing of ships and sensor systems, to data management and insurance companies. Since they benefit from NSF-supported research facilitated by UNOLS assets, we should partner with industry leaders in advocating for increasing (maintaining) Federal support of oceanographic research.

Goals for 2012/2013:

  1. To develop and implement a systematic and transparent process (or processes) to facilitate our agency sponsors in responding to the changing realities both in ocean science and the U.S. economy/federal budgets specifically addressing the difficult tradeoffs that almost certainly will need to be made
  2. To nuture the next generation of seagoing oceanographic scientists.

Goals for 2010/2011:

  1. Explore Options for Establishment of a UNOLS Speaker Series
  2. Options to establish a speaker series will be explored to highlight UNOLS ships and oceanographic research and to serve as an outreach activity to non-UNOLS colleges and universities, with particular attention given to institutions with under-represented minorities in the marine sciences. As one option, the series could be introduced as a pilot program that would include a revolving set of speakers who would participate in this outreach program each year for three years, at which time a review of the program would be carried out to determine if it is a worthwhile outreach activity for UNOLS.

Goals for 2009/2010:

  1. Explore the relationship of working with NSF's Office of Polar Programs to coordinate support for Antarctic Research Vessels.
  2. Explore how to make the present and future fleet more environmentally sustainable.
  3. New and existing technologies and practices should be used in the construction, operation and recycling of research vessels.>
  4. UNOLS should take a leadership role in promoting a green U.S. research fleet as we move forward in developing the academic fleet.