Dean Nancy Targett welcomes SCOR director Ed Urban
If Ed Urban had one word to describe the outlook for his future, he might pick synergistic. This fall the organization he leads, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), relocated to the University of Delaware, where College of Marine and Earth Studies (CMES) researchers have begun providing a vibrant hub for its work.
“SCOR has a 50-year history of serving as a mechanism for ocean scientists from around the world to develop and execute new ideas, and I expect that CMES, with its strong science base, will contribute significantly to SCOR’s future,” said Urban, who is SCOR’s executive director and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Many of those innovative ideas are developed in SCOR’s 15 working groups, in which clusters of 10 or so researchers tackle an issue, and its larger ocean research programs, which involve dozens of scientists focused on international research topics. All told, Urban counts about 250 scientists from more than 35 nations participating in those and other SCOR projects, which are funded by national membership contributions as well as grants and contracts from U.S. and international organizations.
SCOR even extends its reach by providing journal articles and books — each working group produces a publication in return for the funding it receives — to libraries in 33 developing countries. Other outreach initiatives include one that provides travel grants for scientists from developing countries who go abroad to learn about methods to observe the ocean.
Urban said that moving SCOR to CMES from its location at Johns Hopkins University, where it’s been based for the past 15 years, provides an energetic atmosphere for its many international efforts. CMES scientists represent the full range of ocean sciences that SCOR also covers, he said, and it includes faculty experienced in international scientific collaboration.
CMES Dean Nancy Targett agreed that the move is a good fit.
“SCOR is a well-respected forum for bringing together large international, ocean-related initiatives,” she said. “They started out focused on the science of the world oceans, but are now also interested in developing projects that also consider implications from a policy and socioeconomic perspective. We provide a home that has a history of integrating ocean science and policy.”
Both Targett and Urban pointed out the benefits of the match for the college. Urban said he plans to involve CMES researchers in SCOR meetings and is available to help them plan their own events. He also invited researchers to become involved with SCOR working groups.
For Urban and SCOR, fostering international as well as interdisciplinary collaboration shouldn’t be a problem. Urban has an extensive interdisciplinary ocean science background. His own research as a doctoral student at UD focused on the diets of oysters and clams, including economic aspects, and before becoming SCOR’s executive director in 2000, he worked as a senior staff officer at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences.
“My primary goal in this relationship is to help the college’s staff, students and faculty make new international linkages in ocean science,” he said. “Even though there are already a lot of international connections, I can help (the college) broaden them.”
For more about SCOR, visit www.scor-int.org.
To learn more about CMES, visit www.ocean.udel.edu.