Maui News

NOAA Awards UH $210 Million To Host Institute for Marine & Atmospheric Research

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The University of Hawaiʻi was selected by NOAA to host a new Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research with funding of up to $210 million over five years. Photo Courtesy: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration selected the University of Hawai‘i to host a new Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, with the federal agency providing up to $210 million in funding over five years.

NOAA stated the institute’s mission is for:

  • Conducting research and disseminating knowledge necessary for understanding and predicting environmental change in the Indo-Pacific region;
  • Conserving and managing coastal and marine resources in the Hawaiian Islands and the US-affiliated Pacific  Islands;
  • Meeting the country’s economic, social and environmental needs in the region.

NOAA selected the University of Hawaiʻi after an open, competitive evaluation. When the initial five-year program is completed, there is the potential for the institute to receive a renewal for another five years based on successful performance.


The new cooperative institute will continue to address some of the major research themes that have been the focus of NOAA’s previous cooperative institute hosted by UH, the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, as well as expand to include new research areas.

“This institute will help NOAA achieve our mission to better understand the ocean and atmosphere, which depends on research, data and information to make sound decisions for healthy ecosystems, communities and a strong blue economy,” Craig McLean, assistant NOAA administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, said in a news release.

The institute’s eight research themes include: ecological forecasting, ecosystem monitoring, ecosystem-based management, protection and restoration of resources, oceanographic monitoring and forecasting, climate science and impacts, air-sea interactions, and tsunamis and other long-period ocean waves.


NOAA supports 20 cooperative institutes consisting of 70 universities and research institutions in 28 states and the District of Columbia. These research institutions provide strong educational programs that promote student and postdoctoral scientist involvement in NOAA-funded research.

“This new award, reaffirming a 44-year collaboration between NOAA and UH, is a testament to the excellence of the accomplishments by federal and UH researchers,” said Doug Luther, director of the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. “It provides the resources for CIMAR to advance in the tropical Pacific NOAA’s concept of healthy oceans, ecosystems, communities and economies that are resilient in the face of environmental change.”

“As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Justice with jurisdiction over NOAA, I welcome this award, which recognizes and builds on Hawaiʻi’s strengths, from our premier scientists to our NOAA research ships and Mauna Loa Observatory and more,” said US Rep. Ed Case, (D-HI). “CIMAR [Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research] will only amplify our world-class position in all things relating to our oceans and our atmosphere at such a critical time for our world.” 


Rep. Case added: “The award also further highlights the role the University of Hawai‘i plays in our local economy, as summarized in the recent report by the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization. That report showed that the 10-campus university system had a $3.6 billion impact on the state’s economy  in 2020.

“The University of Hawai‘i has been a magnet in drawing millions in federal dollars to the state, while also generating high-paying jobs and critical research, and building the workforce necessary to diversify our economy.”


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