Stanford University has announced a new partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to establish the Center for Ocean Solutions. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, California, has awarded $25 million to support the creation of the center.
The center, which will be managed by Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment, plans to convene international experts in marine science and policy to find innovative ways to protect and restore the world's oceans. Though based in California, the center will address challenges that affect oceans worldwide, including ocean acidification caused by the absorption of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the sea, water pollution and other land-based threats to coastal ecosystems, and the restoration of overfished species. The center will work to improve graduate-level marine education in the Monterey Bay area by developing student workshops and short courses on marine science and policy and by sponsoring fellowships for postdoctoral scholars and recent law and business school graduates. In addition, it will offer training to decision makers from the public and private sectors.
A search is under way for a center director, who will be appointed to the Stanford faculty and will work under the leadership of an advisory council chosen by the three collaborating institutions. In the meantime, marine policy expert Meg Caldwell, a senior lecturer at Stanford Law School and the Woods Institute, will serve as interim director.
"In the United States, there has been a clear lack of leadership on the part of government to solve the major risks facing our oceans, so there is a real opportunity vacuum that the Center for Ocean Solutions can fill," said Caldwell, a former chair of the California Coastal Commission. "One of our aspirations is to be really forward-looking — not only acknowledging immediate threats but being able to look well ahead and say, 'These are issues that are going to confront society in the next generation, which we should be dealing with right now.' "