Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we called Synchro?
There is often a disconnect between emerging technology developers in ocean science and monitoring AND people who need information provided by such tech. Synchro aims to “synchronize” the process of testing and evolving technology with those whose needs it fills, particularly as the Blue Economy’s priorities evolve with societal needs and climate change.
Does Synchro fund technology development?
We will not fund direct technology development per se. Synchro provides free access to our network of oceanographic infrastructure for technology companies/organizations for the purpose of testing/demonstrating their technology.
What does co-design mean, and how does it differ from product-market fit?
Co-design within Synchro’s work is about the process we use to bring in experiences and lessons from a broader group. That includes engineers, data technicians, resources managers, governments, scientists and industry. That holistic perspective helps shape Synchro’s program when it comes to generating knowledge and outcomes for our three tracks of work. That input largely came from four co-design workshops, which brought those from different sectors into the same room. Where co-design comes into our efforts to evaluate technology submissions, we involve the perspectives of technology users. Their feedback helps technology developers assure a strong product-market fit.
Where are the testing and evaluation sites?
Our testing and evaluation sites are predominantly located within Monterey Bay, California and along the central coast of British Columbia. You can find a list of facilities here.
How do I apply to get my technology tested and evaluated?
Link to apply is here.
Who is eligible to apply for testing and evaluation?
Any companies or global organizations with a prototype technology (TRL 4 or higher) that is ready for testing within its intended environment.
What costs are (not) covered by Synchro in testing and evaluation access?
Synchro has established no-cost, streamlined access to select ocean observing infrastructure along with technical assistance by access providers and liaising by the Synchro Technical Manager. Synchro will support data validation where possible. Synchro will help coordinate data lifecycle planning discussions with relevant stakeholders. At this time, Synchro does not cover applicant’s hardware/software, travel, or staff time.
What kinds of technology are eligible for testing and evaluation?
Synchro is prioritizing emerging technology that shows promise in having an impact in ocean observations, particularly for biology and ecosystem measurements. Namely, biomolecular/eDNA (e.g. water samplers, qPCR, etc); imagery (e.g. microscopic, hyperspectral, deep cameras, etc); and passive/active acoustic (e.g. hydrophones, animal tags, tag receivers). However we are interested in ALL technology, for instance biogeochemical, connectors, anti-fouling, platforms (e.g. profilers, drones, autonomous vehicles), and technology enabling underwater communication/networking.
What is expected of applicants for testing and evaluation access?
The applicant will coordinate with the access provider (with the help of Synchro staff) to conduct a test deployment of their technology on the provider’s infrastructure. The applicant will deploy their technology, collect data, communicate with Synchro staff, and summarize the results in a report to Synchro.
How is Synchro different from other initiatives like ACT or NOAA's Ocean Technology Transfer?
Synchro’s value comes from flexibility. We are independent and privately funded. We have a very diverse network of stakeholders. Our aim is to support several pieces of technology simultaneously and ‘keep it simple’, unencumbered by rigid reporting requirements or lengthy evaluation practices. Synchro can also accommodate the fact that not all manufactures want to deploy with competitors or be compared. Synchro can learn from ACT’s previous work establishing standards and building trust by the community.
What is our definition of low-cost technology?
Through other low-cost efforts in the community and our workshop focused on gauging what low-cost technology means to people, we will be aligning with the larger definition that our community lands on. Until that has been established, for our purposes low-cost technology refers to technology offered at a significant reduced cost relative to the current industry standard for that particular piece of technology. ‘Cost’ takes into account both the purchase price of the technology, and also that technology’s ease and cost to operate and maintain. In general, low-cost technology should be operated by a non-technical individual; making it more accessible to a broader community (e.g. early career scientists, non-profit groups, etc).
When can I learn more about the low-cost procurement and evaluation effort?
More news will be disseminated through the Synchro Network in the Fall/Winter of 2023. It will also be found on our low-cost page.