Ocean Tech for Sustainable Development: Ocean Decade Technology and Innovation Informal Working Group


Ocean Tech for Sustainable Development: Ocean Decade Technology and Innovation Informal Working Group

Ocean Tech for Sustainable Development: Ocean Decade Technology and Innovation Informal Working Group 2000 1288 Ocean Decade

The Ocean Decade has launched a Technology and Innovation Informal Working Group to promote a strong science-technology-innovation interface and provide strategic insight to the Ocean Decade Coordination Unit.

Scientific understanding of the ocean’s responses to pressures and management action is key to a sustainable ocean and Blue Economy. Technology and engineering solutions are instrumental for both informing research directions and in moving from science to solutions.

Technology and innovation are critical to achieving the vision of the Ocean Decade. With a decade of development, it is likely that new tools and techniques will fundamentally change ocean science. Leveraging such developments in a timely and accessible manner, will lead to greater impacts at scale.

The Ocean Decade Technology and Innovation Informal Working Group held its first meeting on 21 October 2021, under the Co-chairpersonship of Dr Jyotika Virmani, Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and Mr Justin Manley, President of Just Innovation Inc., USA.

According the Group’s Terms of Reference, the 15 members are tasked ‘with ensuring technology and innovation is leveraged, mainstreamed, and accessible and leads to implementation of impact-driven solutions for sustainable ocean development.’

“This inaugural Technology & Innovation Informal Working Group seeks to bridge the gap between innovation and the use of technology in the field, to improve our collective knowledge of the ocean. These experts have an incredible global awareness of disruptive technologies and trends, which is needed to ensure that science keeps pace with technological change, unlocks new discoveries, and provides the information to sustainably care for our ocean,” said Dr Virmani.

The Working Group will address a large scope of cutting-edge and disruptive technologies and emerging trends to the Ocean Decade and its challenges. These include:

  • Autonomous and uncrewed systems
  • Advanced data processing including machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Underwater acoustics and imaging
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Affordability and miniaturization of sensors
  • Deep sea exploration
  • Renewable ocean energy and
  • Maritime transportation

“Driven by significant new investments, ocean technology is evolving rapidly, enabling new scientific understanding and new business models for sustainable use of the ocean,” noted co-Chair Justin Manley.

The Working Group is composed of 15 members from a range of stakeholder groups including government, intergovernmental organisations, private sector, NGOs, academia, and philanthropic Foundations. The members were recruited via invitation from the Executive Secretary of the IOC-UNESCO and taking into account geographic, gender and generational diversity. Members will sit on the Working Group for a period of two years, but renewable for another term.

Members have expertise in the domains relevant to Ocean Decade Challenges and have demonstrated significant contributions to the wider ocean community.

Meet the Technology and Innovation Informal Working Group:


Jyotika Virmani, Executive Director, Schmidt Ocean Institute

Justin Manley, Investor


Maren Hjorth Bauer, Investor

Chuck Cooper, Managing Director, Government Affairs, Vulcan, Inc.

Jon Kaye, Science Program Director, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Sue Keay, Technologist

Takeshi Ohki, Planning Group, Solutions Department, SENSYN ROBOTICS Inc.

Venugopalan Pallayil, Deputy Head, Acoustic Research Laboratory at the National University of Singapore

Ralph Rayner, Professorial Research Fellow, Centre for the Analysis of Time Series at the London School of Economics

Eric Siegel, Executive-in-Residence: Oceans, Creative Destruction Lab

Ambe Tierro, Lead, Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in the Philippines



About the Ocean Decade:

Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.


The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.


The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want





Join #OceanDecade

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