Introducing Synchro: A Co-Designed Ocean Testbed for Technology Deployment

A collaboration to help meet growing demands for monitoring the ocean

In marine labs and technology start-ups around the world, innovative solutions are being developed that may never make it to the marketplace even if they offer a cost effective and high-quality alternative to present ocean observing tools. The reason? It’s often beyond the capacity of technology developers to navigate a complex, expensive and logistically challenging set of requirements to prove new technologies in real-world ocean conditions and to collaborate with potential users and stakeholders. Often called the “valley of death,” moving from early prototype development through these proving grounds to ready a new technology for widespread deployment can require ships, co-location on ocean platforms, and the formation of collaborative teams, including potential users, to provide valuable expertise and guidance.

Deploying a GO-BGC float off the R/V Paragon in Monterey Bay
Image: © Jared Figurski 2022 MBARI

Launching in early 2023, Synchro is designed to guide technology innovators through the valley of death by providing a co-design collaborative process and ocean testbed to bring critical new capabilities to the marine technology industry and valuable data streams to the ocean observing community. Centered at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) Synchro’s support comes from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Oceankind and Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, Synchro, and a partnership with the Hakai Institute.  The first  call for applicants to gain access to testing and evaluation facilities will begin in the Monterey Bay area and British Columbia. 

Tech developers are encouraged to apply for the access and technical support to assess their systems in a variety of settings that the Synchro program offers, including: 

  • deploying equipment over the side of a ship
    Image: © 2014 MBARI

    Pier/wharf stations 

  • Buoy/mooring
  • Seawater pump fed laboratories 
  • Aquaculture facilities 
  • Drone platforms 
  • Coastal research vessels & boats

All marine tech concepts are welcome, whether the focus is on blue-sky discovery research tools or building a better, more efficient instrument set for ocean resource management and conservation. Synchro will work with successful applicants to build out operational and data lifecycle concepts that could connect their capabilities with the needs of scientists, managers, policy makers, and more.

Join the Synchro Network to hear about future developments and explore deeper involvement.