Summary of Technology Committee Discussions
(provided by Peter Ortner, Chair, October 1994)

U.S. GLOBEC has sponsored three workshops relating to technology development and International GLOBEC yet another. There is little doubt that the similarities between these outweigh their differences: all highlight the central role of new sampling and analytical methodology in GLOBEC science, all point out that technology development (as well as system modeling) activities may require funding well in advance of actual field studies. A principal difference between the documents is that the international workshop embraced the notion of a "testbed" where complex integrated sensor packages could be intercompared and intercalibrated which was not a recommendation of any of the U.S. workshops. As a result of one of these workshops U.S. GLOBEC released a biotechnology RFP (and funded at least one research group) but no optical or acoustic RFP was ever issued although one was prepared.

It has become clear nonetheless that to date GLOBEC field activities have not been precluded by the degree of funding provided to technology development. New technologies (acoustic and optical) are being used in the N.W. Atlantic GLOBEC program. These were funded in part by the U.S. GLOBEC research program funding for the NW Atlantic but also by NSF Oceanographic Instrumentation Section and by the Oceanic Biology Program of the Office of Naval Research. New genetics approaches (funded by the Biotechnology RFP) are already being incorporated. It is also true that the process has been far from painless and the principal investigators involved have had to limit their ambitions, leverage various sources of funding, delay completion and perhaps inadequetely test and intercalibrate or intercompare approaches. Moreover concerns have been raised as to whether or not ONR support will be continued in the future which would substantially affect the technology development community. All that said, given that substantial increases in U.S. GLOBEC funding are anticipated from neither NSF nor NOAA, it is difficult to justify at this time, a technology specific RFP.

At present technology transfer would appear to be a greater problem than technology development per se. How can methods, systems, approaches used by a few in the community become available to additional users? How can we make sure that whatever gains are made in our first field program, the NW Atlantic, are incorporated into our upcoming programs in the Pacific and/or the Southern Ocean? In the same vein, are there particular kinds of work, for example genetic methods distinguishing amongst target species, that really do have to be initiated early in program development and like system modeling, cannot be reasonably deferred?

In regard to technology transfer the Friday Harbor acoustics workshops are thought to have been exceedingly productive and conducting similar workshops on a regular basis would seem to be one of the most efficient ways to promote technology transfer.

Last, in regard to the present Terms of Reference (TOR) and membership of the Technology Development Committee (attached) it appears reasonable to continue to have a standing committee but to leave the TOR as general as possible.