In the summer of 2010, a group of scientists, lawyers, state agencies, and industry representatives negotiated one of the most impactful research deals in modern history. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was born as a voluntary program funded by BP. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance was selected to administer it as long as it was governed by an independent Research Board, of which ten members were selected by BP and ten selected by the five Gulf States. The experiment has worked brilliantly. This month, after six years of world class ground-breaking research, an entire volume of the Journal of Oceanography is dedicated to this effort.
This special issue – a collaborative effort among scientists funded by GoMRI, the GoMRI Research Board, and the GoMRI management team – highlights scientific advances from the program. Twenty papers cover topics ranging from how the spill affected marine ecosystems and the fate of oil in the marine environment, to data management and education and outreach initiatives.
An incredible amount of work reflects the more than 3,000 GoMRI-funded researchers representing 278 institutions in 42 states and 17 countries. Collectively, they produced approximately 800 peer-reviewed publications. There is more to come. A request for proposals is due in October 2016. But the expectations are better than that. The most powerful legacy of GoMRI will be the 2,000 young oil-spill scientists currently in training.
Research Board Chair Dr. Rita Colwell said, “GoMRI provides an excellent model for industry to play a significant role in supporting independent, open, scientific research to foster discovery and at the same time help solve societal problems, inform decision-making, and address future environmental and public health challenges.”
Get a copy of Oceanography: Special Issue on GoMRI: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Volume 29, Number 3, September 2016.
Learn more about the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.