The ocean is important to humanity and is still mostly unknown. Current methods of studying its interior,
boundaries, processes, resources, and changes are slow and expensive, causing management decisions to be
made from relatively uninformed and incomplete knowledge. NOAA formed OER to explicitly address these
issues, accelerate the pace of discoveries, and increase our understanding of the ocean.
OER supports a continuum of ocean science that makes discoveries via exploration and research, and
transitions the new knowledge and capabilities to the rest of NOAA, and the national and international
science, technology, and ocean management communities. OER integrates science, education, and outreach to
raise awareness and increase ocean science literacy.
In May 2011, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research: Strategic Plan FY2011-FY2015 was finalized.
It was developed based on agency goals and input from the public. The plan outlines four strategic goals:
- GOAL 1: Conduct scientific baseline
characterizations of unknown or poorly-known ocean
basin boundaries, processes, and resources
- GOAL 2: Transition ocean exploration discoveries to new research areas (E2R) and research results
to new applications (R2A) to benefit society
- GOAL 3: Increase the pace, scope, and efficiency of exploration and research through advancement of
- GOAL 4: Engage audiences through innovative means by integrating science, education and
Exploration advances the breadth of knowledge and basic research advances the depth of knowledge.
Exploration and basic research share:
- the goal of discovery and expanding our base of knowledge;
- technology and infrastructure needs; and
- the opportunity for integrating science and education.
- J. Yoder, 2003, National Research Council
OER combines all three of these aspects in its program.
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Strategic Plan for FY 2011 - 2015