Is Privately Funded Research on the Rise in Ocean Science?

Monday, 15 December 2014: 3:25 PM
Margaret Spring, Monterey Bay Aquauium, Monterey, CA, United States, Sarah W Cooksey, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Dover, United States, John A Orcutt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, United States, Steven E Ramberg, National Defense University, Washington DC, United States, John E Jankowski, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, United States and Claudia Mengelt, the National Academies, Washington, DC, United States
While federal funding for oceanography is leveling off or declining, private sector funding from industry and philanthropy appears to be on the rise. The Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council is discussing these changes in the ocean science funding landscape. In 2014 the Board convened experts to better understand the long term public and private funding trends for the ocean sciences and the implications of such trends for the ocean science enterprise and the nation. Specific topics of discussion included: (1) the current scope of philanthropic and industry funding for the ocean sciences; (2) the long-term trends in the funding balance between federal and other sources of funding; (3) the priorities and goals for private funders; and (4) the characteristics of various modes of engagement for private funders.

Although public funding remains the dominant source of research funding, it is unclear how far or fast that balance might shift in the future nor what a shifting balance may mean. There has been no comprehensive assessment of the magnitude and impact of privately-funded science, particularly the ocean sciences, as public funding sources decline. Nevertheless, the existing data can shed some light on these questions. We will present available data on long-term trends in federal and other sources of funding for science (focusing on ocean science) and report on preliminary findings from a panel discussion with key private foundations and industry funders.