Project FIND is a step towards leveling the playing field for research for the benefit of the Ocean
30 Sep, 2022
Andersoon Jhon Bermudezz
The exploration, research and safeguarding of the ocean is the responsibility of all humankind and not just some. This is why collaborative work between companies, research centers and researchers is key to the preservation of the world's Ocean. This also involves enabling and encouraging the brightest minds from all sectors including underdeveloped and developing countries, possibly through awards and grants.
A recent effort in this direction was the Float Innovation & New Discovery (FIND) contest started by the renewable energy company "Seatrec" in conjunction with the company H2O.ai. This contest award provides 5 teams of oceanographers from around the world with scientific equipment for data collection and analysis.
The selected researchers will receive a Navis float integrated with two of Seatrec's SL1 modules with which scientific measurements can be taken up to 1000 meters deep. In addition, researchers will have access and support to their artificial intelligence (AI) platform and resources from H2O.ai, where different machine learning and AI applications can be developed.
The selected teams were:
- Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan scientist and National Geographic Explorer best known for her studies of blue whales.
- Joseph K. Ansong, a senior math lecturer at the University of Ghana who specializes in understanding the energetics of regional/global oceanic processes.
- Miguel Tenreiro, a researcher based in Mexico studying the Gulf of Mexico circulation and its impact on weather and hurricanes.
- Olga Sato and Paulo Polito, lead a team from Brazil studying the South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation as an indicator for changes in climate.
- Tamaryn Morris and Juliet Hermes, lead a South African team focused on the Mozambique Channel and the Agulhas Current.
We asked Mr. Sri Ambati, CEO and founder of H2O.ai, on why he felt it is important to constitute this award to researchers in Ocean science, to which he responded “Ocean science is data science. Democratizing ocean science by providing underrepresented communities with access to world-class research tools is a critical step to preserving our Ocean, and ultimately unlocking the mysteries of all life. We are honored to support this important work and provide H2O.ai’s AI cloud platform for its prime purpose – AI for good.”
To learn more about the program, we asked the CEO of Seatrec, Mr. Yi Chao, what Project FIND is, to which he replied that “Project FIND grew out of Seatrec's mission to better understand and save the Ocean. Project FIND is a step towards leveling the playing field for research for the benefit of the Ocean.”. And what was the inspiration behind this project? Yi Chao says “So many qualified scientists are working outside of rich countries with almost no access to resources and support for their research, that is simply unacceptable. Studying and saving the Ocean is a global issue and we need the best and brightest from everywhere to get involved.”
We also asked Chao about how this type of technology would help care for the Ocean, to which he replied that “FIND will have a significant near-term impact by providing unprecedented resources in the form of state-of-the-art research floats to collect data, along with an advanced AI platform to process the data, to five oceanographers who would not otherwise have access to these tools. In the longer term, Project FIND will continue to work to save the Ocean, both directly by providing unique data collected from the least studied corners of the world, and more broadly by providing a template for expanding global scientific capacity and equity. , which are vital to saving the environment [and the Ocean]"
Finally we asked why Chao believed that companies should actively collaborate in caring for the Ocean. Yi Chao responded that businesses have an important role to play in improving Ocean research while influencing the growth of a $22 trillion blue economy. Those already invested in the developing world or in Ocean sustainability must help ensure that local scientists take their rightful place in research. All companies doing business in the developing world – manufacturing, selling, transporting – should explore opportunities to engage in research and sustainability work for both economic and brand value. “’A rising tide’, as the saying goes, “lifts all ships”, but it will take all hands on deck to make sure the world's Ocean is healthy enough to do the lifting.” .
Inspiring words indeed. These imbibe the spirit of the UN Decade of Ocean sciences and the kind of collaborations we need between various sectors such as academia, industry, government agencies and philanthropy to achieve the goals of the Decade. Initiatives such as FIND show that it is possible to work together to care for the Ocean. The collaboration forged by the company is appreciable, and more such collaborative work of different companies with oceanographic research teams is a necessity in coming years so that we can have a better Ocean for everyone.
Here is a link to the official FIND contest press release.