In January, RBR announced the 16 members of the RBR2020 Cohort, a two-year accelerator program for innovative early-career ocean scientists. Members of the cohort will be supported by RBR and leading ocean scientist mentors to develop their proposed projects, enable new measurements and methods, and communicate their results.

RBROIDLogo 1523982711Launched in September, 2019, the RBR2020 Cohort challenged applicants to propose innovative research ideas and methods for measuring the blue planet. The ocean science community responded with impressively high-quality proposals – the 16 chosen falling into four areas of ocean research:

  • polar studies
  • small scale, high frequency observations
  • citizen science
  • novel measurement methods

Members of this first RBR2020 Cohort will gain access to RBR technology, equipment, and resources to accelerate their research and develop novel measurement methods. The cohort program also provides early career scientists with opportunities for mentorship in science communication and professional development.

The relationship between academic researchers and industry partners in the ocean science community has always been close – research and measurement technology co-evolve. “RBR believes that we should invest our marketing budget to directly support outstanding ocean scientists. By giving them access to more instrumentation, communications, and professional development skills, they will accelerate their discoveries and better communicate their results with the public.” described Eric Siegel, RBR’s Director of Sales and Marketing.

Cohort members attending the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences conference in San Diego, February, 2020, will participate in two events to start developing their new research projects and enhance their science communication skills. Each cohort member will present a summary of their research idea to the attendees of the RBR Technical Workshop. Their presentations to the global audience will help them build a broader network, facilitate constructive feedback, and create connections for joint collaborations.

Members will also participate in an RBR-sponsored panel session on developing science communication methods and research group management skills. Sonya Legg (Princeton University), Scott Glenn (Rutgers University), Jennifer Brandon (University of California San Diego), and Glen Gawarkiewicz (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), leaders in ocean science and communications, will serve on the expert panel to guide cohort members. Discussion topics will include communicating results with media, pitching to funding agencies, and how to recruit and select graduate students.

Applications for the RBR2020 Cohort, submitted between September and December, 2019, were assessed based on how the applicant and their research project could benefit from cohort participation; the likelihood of the applicant’s project succeeding within the two-year timeframe; the impact of RBR’s expertise and equipment on the applicant’s project; and the overall contribution to the ocean science community.

Over the next two years, RBR2020 Cohort members will:

  • have the use of RBR equipment for proof-of-concept deployments
  • be paired with two mentors from RBR: a scientist and an engineer
  • be given the opportunity to develop and test new measurement methods at RBR headquarters, working with RBR’s metrology and oceanography experts
  • have access to RBR2020 Cohort pricing, to leverage for their research programs
  • be awarded a travel stipend to present their research at an international conference chosen by the member
  • be provided with science communication mentorship and opportunities for professional development

Eric Siegel describes how the RBR2020 Cohort program aligns with RBR’s core mission, “RBR strives to be at the service of our customers – and their success is our overriding goal. The cohort program will help develop the research and careers of the individual cohort members, but more importantly the goal is to make a meaningful contribution to ocean science research, methods, and discovery.”

Congratulations to the 16 members of the RBR2020 Cohort! We’re excited to take this research journey together.

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