A Blue Economy Extravaganza: Introducing Admiral Tim Gallaudet's New ASPN Podcast & The NSF Convergence Accelerator
The Blue Economy takes center stage
On this two-part episode, Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham introduce Admiral Tim Gallaudet, host of the new "American Blue Economy Podcast," coming out this month on ASPN. Gallaudet's monthly show will explore the intricacies of the blue economy with top policy and science experts from inside and outside government. The guest lineup is spectacular. We discuss Tim's early influences, his 30+ year Navy career, what it means to be the Oceanographer of the Navy, his Scripps PhD, and his tenure as NOAA's Acting Administrator. We introduce the new show and also discuss the importance of leadership in the ocean and coastal space. Simply put, please meet Tim Gallaudet. We could not be more thrilled to add the Admiral and the American Blue Economy Podcast to the ASPN lineup. (40:04). It's going to be great.
In Part II, Tim joins Peter and Tyler to shine a bright light on the National Science Foundation's Networked Blue Economy Convergence Accelerator, a $30 million grant program now open for proposals. Joining the show from NSF are Douglas Maughan, Chris Sanford, and Knauss Sea Grant Policy Fellow, Clea Harrelson, to lay out why coastal professionals, companies, NGOs, and stakeholders should pay attention to this not-to-be-missed funding opportunity. The accelerator is an R&D program that functions much like a tech "boot camp" where selected teams receive a capitol infusion up to $5.75M over three years and compete and collaborate to develop new products and services for America's blue economy. This unique and powerful grant opportunity is designed to foster collaboration among multi-disciplinary teams of coastal thinkers and innovators from NGO's, academic institutions, community groups, and even industry-lead teams. The goal is to accelerate a convergence across ocean sectors and create a smart, integrated, connected, and open ecosystem for ocean innovation, exploration, and sustainable utilization. Collectively, the selected research teams are expected to develop new solutions that improve human engagement with oceans as both an environment space and an economic resource. Check it out, form a team, and apply today. Letters of Interest are due May 5 and full proposals are due June 14, 2021.
Peter Ravella 0:00
Hello everybody and welcome to the American shoreline podcast. This is Peter Ravella. co host of the show,
Tyler Buckingham 0:05
and Tyler Buckingham, the other co host,
Peter Ravella 0:08
Tyler, an amazing show. In this particular episode, it's going to be two parts. In part one, we're going to introduce our audience to the brand new show coming to the American shoreline Podcast Network in April of 2021. To be hosted by Tim Gallaudet, it is called the American blue economy podcast. Tim Gallaudet is the former Deputy Administrator of NOAA he was the acting Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmospheres atmosphere, a PhD from Scripps, he was the oceanographer of Navy and amazing guy who's going to do a great show on our. Admiral, Admiral, Tim Gallaudet 36 years of federal service. And now joining ASPN man, I'm so happy about that.
Tyler Buckingham 0:53
It's an honor and a privilege to have Tim and to get to know him here on part one, but coming up on part two, Peter,
Peter Ravella 1:00
well on part two of this show, because it's a twofer. We're going to be talking about the blue economy convergence accelerator. This is a brand new funding opportunity from the National Science Foundation. Millions of dollars are available for innovative cross disciplinary teams to tackle complex coastal and ocean issues. It's an amazing funding opportunity. It's super fast. Deadlines coming up in June, May and June. And then funds available in September this year. Tyler it's for coastal professionals out there pay attention to part two of this show. It's an amazing program that we're trying to promote and with the help of the National Science Foundation will pay attention to both parts. Yeah, both parts are going to be great. This is really superb, man.
Tyler Buckingham 1:46
Yeah, it's gonna be great looking forward to getting into it. But before we do, let's have a quick word from our sponsors.
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Peter Ravella 2:43
Well, Tyler is we often have the privilege of doing on the American shoreline Podcast Network is to bring on a new host of a new show on ASPN. And I got to tell ya, I think we've hit a homerun we have the best new host ever on the American Shoreline Podcast Network that we're going to introduce to our audience today. Tim Gallaudet.
Tyler Buckingham 3:05
Yeah, indeed, Peter, it is a an honor for us to bring Tim Gaullaudet on board. And Tim, welcome to the American shoreline podcast.
Tim Gallaudet 3:18
It's great to be here, Peter Tyler, thanks for having me.
Peter Ravella 3:21
Well, Tim, it's a pleasure to have you on ASPN. We're really looking forward to your show. You will be hosting the American blue economy podcast on ASPN and have worked very hard on the development of that show. An incredible lineup of guests that spectacular over the next year that we are just really looking forward to bringing that to our audience and want to thank you right out of the gate for joining the ASPN community and being part of the dialogue about the American shoreline your great spokesman for a great number of issues. And thank you so much.
Tim Gallaudet 3:55
Oh, the honor is mine to be associated with to communications and ocean professionals as yourself. So thank you.
Peter Ravella 4:03
Well, Tim, one of the things that makes this so i think so powerful for our listeners, as you go through your show is just the background that you bring to the table. And in your work with Noah as the acting Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, the former former Deputy Administrator of NOAA, and of course your scientific credentials are beyond reproach with a PhD from Scripps University in oceanography, serving as oceanographer of the US Navy and I really want to learn more about what that job was like. In addition to being the commander of the Navy, meteorological and ocean oceanography command, a fine graduate of the US Naval Academy go Midshipman, that experience, Tim, I think is unprecedented. We don't we don't i don't know that. There's anyone who's got that mix. Have science and policy and leadership in service and service? It's going to be I think that perspective is going to inform your show in such a grand way. And so can you talk a little bit about your background and this journey that you've been on through your professional career in public service? You're deep into the ocean. Tell us about it.
Tim Gallaudet 5:24
Sure, Peter, thank you for that. And that's very gracious introduction, I just can only say that I've had a lot of help. And really, if I could do anything with this American blue economy podcast, it's paying it forward, at the arc of my entire professional and personal life has been along the oceans and coasts. And now I think that I can contribute much with the information I have in the network, to help our oceans and coasts. And we're talking about not only sustainable development, but conservation, and make sure that these pristine, beautiful places and resources are preserved for future generations. But you asked about my background, and you went through it pretty well. But I can just say that I grew up in Southern California. And I fell in love with the ocean as soon as we started to visit and go to the beaches and take vacations there. And and that love is just carried me into the Navy and beyond. And and that's why I'm here with you today.
Tyler Buckingham 6:20
Well, Tim, you might not know this about me, but I briefly attended the Air Force Academy. So I know a little bit about going to a service Academy. I know that it's it's not just like a flip of the coin, you you really have to be deliberate. And it's a big application process. Can you tell us a little bit about your decision to enter public service to enter the military at the age of 18? Instead of going to college? You went to the to the Naval Academy? Can you talk us a little bit through what was going through your mind at that young age?
Tim Gallaudet 6:54
Yeah, Tyler, I'd be glad to. And I didn't know that about you and respect that you gave that a shot it even just doing that is something few people do. And so for me, as I told you, I'd always loved the ocean. I wanted to study it, and I wanted to work on it. And so I was looking at various schools and institutions that would allow me to do that. And the Academy was one because they offered an oceanography undergraduate major, at one of the best in the country. And that was very appealing. There were other schools that I was interested in, like UC Santa Barbara. And at the time, I was also highly a nationally ranked competitive swimmer. And so I kind of had to wait, what did I want to do with myself? Did I want to major in swimming, and try to go for that, and I knew and swam against several Olympians? And or did I want to pursue something more higher, if you will, in terms of a professional calling? And it really the gut feeling in me was I made my decision to go to the Naval Academy was about about service, as you mentioned, combined with everything about the ocean. And and I never regretted that decision. It's paid for me well, and I've done okay, I think. And, yes, so there was just a lot of factors that made me choose that way. And it worked for me, and I'm grateful for it.
Tyler Buckingham 8:11
Well, I just wanted to spend a little bit more time here with with you, Tim, while you're there in Annapolis, Maryland, a beautiful, historic town on the Mid Atlantic coast. They're not far from Washington really has a vibe to it. And I was if you could talk a little bit about kind of that the influence of attending that that Academy and also you mentioned, the marine biology department, I believe. What what what are they doing there at the at the Naval Academy that made it such a great program?
Tim Gallaudet 8:52
Yeah, Tyler. Sure. Well, so first off about living in Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay. That was interesting and incredibly enriching for me as a lifelong ocean and coastal enthusiast. I had grown up in Southern California. And I have to admit, I was a bit snobby about Southern California beaches. But when I came to Annapolis, I just fell in love with the bay and the culture and the environment. It was just it's so unique and special. And of course, anyone who's been to the Chesapeake Bay, it knows exactly what I'm talking about. And actually, I'll just launch from that for a bit because as I've moved, traveled around the country and the world, all of our coastal places are unique and special. And you go to New England, for example, or maybe South Florida where I've been recently or the Great Lakes have this all wonderful vibe in themselves as the shark free and unsalted, Great Lakes, you know, and that's so Annapolis was just one stage and expanding this, you know, wonderful love and knowledge of coastal areas. And now about, about the program there. It's not marine biology. It's actually oceanographer oceanography Excuse me. Yeah. And that's, that's the like the physical aspects of currents and circulation, wave heights, chemistry, all these, those are the properties and aspects of the oceans that the Navy cares about, because it affects the safety of ships at sea, as well as the performance of sonar that's very important in submarine operations. And, of course, the marine meteorology aspect of the ocean, because the ocean and atmosphere are coupled, all of those things affect naval operations. And that's, that was really the purpose. That is the purpose of that major degree there. And it's still a great program going strong. And and I'm really proud of Dr. Leslie step who runs the program, the department now they're doing a fantastic work and educating this shipment to be prepared to serve in our great Navy. Tim, I'd
Tyler Buckingham 10:53
like to I'm sorry, I've just, I'm just gonna keep on going. I'm very interested in in getting to know this young man who would be end up becoming a rear admiral and lead NOAA and become an Undersecretary of commerce. I I'm curious to know how you thought about the ocean there when you entered? Were you? You just described it so succinctly, oceanography, this, this concert between currents and the atmosphere, and temperature and pH and all that. Were you hip to that? When you were that young? Were you thinking of what of the ocean in such complex and intricate ways back then? Or is that something you've kind of learned how to do? As you've pursued your education, ultimately getting your PhD?
Tim Gallaudet 11:42
Exactly, Tyler, that that was the kind of the purpose there is to learn and expand my knowledge. And so no, I had, of course, a sort of a some understanding and being a competitive ocean swimmer. But so I've been in the element, if you will, but, you know, going to the Naval Academy, and learning all about that, and through the major and all the coursework, and some of the mathematical theoretical underpinnings of how the ocean works. All that just expanded my awareness and understanding and knowledge base in a way that, to me was so exciting. And in fact, you know, I had an idea of what I wanted to do for my career, and I knew it involved the oceans. And then when I graduated from Annapolis, you know, it was much more clearly defined. I wanted to be this oceanography officer, there's a there's a branch of the Navy that isn't that specialty. And and that that that helped me prepare to do that. And now you help prepare, prepare me, it gave me an absolute passion for it.
Peter Ravella 12:41
In that career in the US Navy, it looks like Tim about 30 years almost right.
Tim Gallaudet 12:48
Peter Ravella 12:48
32 years, my father was an Air Force. Pilot 30 year Air Force I'm very familiar with growing up in the service absolutely loved it as a kid growing up around the world at different bases when my father was stationed but 30 years 32 years in the United States Navy, what's great about the US Navy and about our services is the fact that our command officers have the opportunity to continue their education as part of their service to the country. Your your work in a Master's and PhD level three Scripps occurred during your level service. Can you talk about about that a little bit and how that added to your understanding and your professional work for the United States Navy?
Tim Gallaudet 13:31
Yes, I can't hear and I'm really proud and fortunate to have had both of those experiences. It's it's not common. Many naval officers do get graduate degrees at the Masters level. But getting a PhD was fairly rare. And again, I've been very lucky. I've had great people who took care of me, as I had the master's degree was something I did right upon graduation from Annapolis. And again, I actually didn't get accepted into scripts. Initially, they rejected me, because I applied to the wrong department, the physical oceanography department where there's a lot of mathematical modeling involved, and I won't say my math scores were up to the task, but I really kind group of people saw what I my potential, and they walked my application to another department, and they decided to accept me long story there. But ultimately, I have to say, You've given me a lot of these kudos, and they're all due to just wonderful people along the way. But the master's degree helped me greatly. And I really, you know, it was just more in detail at a higher level. Scripps is, you know, at that standard, where it's the most elite of ocean scientists and to work with them like walk with Dr. Walter mog, was just like heaven to me. And then at the PhD level later, after some time in serving on ships and shore stations that just took it all the way out to the stratosphere, if you will, or maybe to the head ozone if you're talking about the ocean deep and there In fact was the PhD is a really interesting process if anyone here has a degree at that level, that is where I actually learned how to learn. I learned a lot in the degrees beforehand. But when you do the PhD, you go through a process, we learn how to learn well, and that data and I love that because I'm a lifelong learner. So to be able to have that experience at that level, and certainly in the field, that is my calling and passion was just tremendous opportunity.
Peter Ravella 15:28
Incredible. And it leads to these profound I would like if you wouldn't mind to expound on a couple of things, these these jobs that you held in the United States, neighbors as the commander of the Navy, meteorological and oceanography command, and then as oceanographer of the Navy, I just when I think of that, and I don't really know anything about these jobs. But if you're the oceanographer, the United States Navy, let's just say, being right about what you're saying to fleets all over the world has got to be something that keeps you up at night, because it seems like a lot of people are going to be depending on your expertise and your office to guide the Navy as it operates all over the globe. Can you talk a little bit about those those roles and what that was like for you?
Tim Gallaudet 16:16
Happy to Peter, I'll describe them collectively, there's two different jobs I shared at the same time. And but one is the commander job as an operational job reporting to the Fleet Forces commander. And I was in charge of 3500 sailors and civilians that went and supported ships and aircraft and submarines and navy seals. And they deployed and we had shoreside centers, data centers that supported them running supermodel predictions, supercomputer predictions, pardon me. And, and that was the operational side, the oceanographer of the Navy works in the Pentagon, and he is on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. And that job is not operational. It's about policy and budget. But to get to your question about, you know, did I stay up at night, actually, you know, I had concerns that I thought about often during the day, but I had great people. And so I didn't stay up at night worrying about that. I of course, knew we had critical information to deliver Navy forces at sea, navy seals in combat, that I had a great team, and they performed superbly, and again, if I've ever gone for is because so many people carried me along the way.
Tyler Buckingham 17:29
Yeah, well, I'll tell you, I've, Peter knows that I have a tendency to kind of nerd out on naval history at various periods of time, and one not need to look far into naval history to find that storms and weather have determined the outcome of a great number of battles. And obviously, in the age of sail, could be just absolutely decisive. But Tim, what I'm reminded of is Admiral halsy, sailing through that big cyclone, and just battered up, battered up his fleet, and it was, you know, in many respects, I think even more deadly than many of the world war two naval engagements. So yeah, that weather stuff is no joke when you're on the high seas. So Tim, I we can we talk a little bit about your PhD and and your research there at Scripps, I realized this is going backwards a little bit. But I would like to kind of nerd out a little bit on what you were thinking about and focused on there in that critical juncture in your life where you say you learned how to learn. That's very interesting to me.
Tim Gallaudet 18:42
Sure, I would be glad to Tyler ball go back to the master's degree first, because I'm sure it was relevant as well, in you know, I did, I think that was a little more brute force in terms of my learning. But I was excited about it, because it became so relevant later. And what my research would involve was using NOAA satellite data, you know, who knew I'd be working for the agency leading it actually, later. And, and I was using machine learning techniques, which were quite novel at the time. And in fact, there's an artificial intelligence or AI is a big buzzword now. And I basically minor in AI, as Scripps as a master's student graduating in 1991. So AI and all this talk, which is really important because the power of AI is immense. It's it's so much as talked about now. Like, like it's new. It's not new at all. It's just that our computational resources are extraordinary today. Yeah. And, but you're getting the PFC that was a little different. I was doing acoustic work. And it was a using a conformal acoustic array that looked like basically a wedding band, and it was around the hole of a unmanned underwater vehicle or uuv. And so these are exploding now across ocean science gliders ATVs uuvs, our o V's. And and so they're back that not 2001. As, as we were just beginning to exploit this autonomous technology, I was able to get my hands on some Navy data from these systems and develop all the novel processing techniques and then learn something about the the sound and the ocean itself. And which was exciting is basically long story short, I was able to characterize with all this novel data, that just that the irregularity and variability spatially and temporally, at a fine scale of various ocean processes like waves and distributions of plankton and fish, as well as the characteristics of the seabed.
Peter Ravella 20:49
Wow. This is why I think, Tim, that there couldn't be a better host of the blue economy podcast, the depth of experience and knowledge, the ability to communicate with scientists at the highest level, at the government administration level, both in the Pentagon and in naval operations. And then in, in, in what amounts to the civilian side of your career at NOAA, up to Undersecretary of commerce, this ability to spanned both the deepest scientific questions in Ocean and coastal research and the and the government administration of the programs that deal with it. That's why I'm excited about the blue economy podcast and and what you can bring to the table, and enlightening our audiences around the world about the issues involved and and what's at stake and how to tackle those problems. I wondered if you could take a moment and comment a little bit about your time at the US Department of Commerce. And what you learned and derive from our from that part of your government service? How did that inform your your understanding of what we do as a country when it comes to ocean and coastal issues?
Tim Gallaudet 22:07
Here? That's a great question. And something I am very excited to talk about, because working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was easily the highlight and pinnacle of my career, the that agency just does so much good, I would say often and with total sincerity, that Noah affects every American life every day, in a positive way, through either the weather forecasts, satellite data, as well as fisheries management and science and ecosystem conservation. It's just their work touches everybody in important ways and does so much good for our environment. And so that that that data, my service with no impact on me was in several ways. One is, you know, it was just really, as a leader, fulfilling for me to have the opportunity to do so much good. There's so many important programs being executed at NOAA, by so many, just world class science scientists and managers and administrators. And so being able to work with them and advance the agency, in so many different ways was fulfilling, because of the impact again, on the American people through the work they do on the oceans coast and Great Lakes, it was also super enriching to help those people improve their performance and become better at what they do. From my leadership standpoint, is I my job was to help them do their job better. So there were just a number of ways that a pro knew things we initiated, to help them do that, and to give them the resources and the tools and techniques and and, and just the capability to do their job better. Because what's so great about the people listening, and the people, that agency and us three here together as, as we're all united by this common passion for the coasts and the great lakes and oceans, and wanting to keep them and preserve them for future generations, as well as advanced their sustainable use. And this agency is the nation's leading agency to do just that. So I never felt like I was working a single day with no every day I just couldn't wait to get in there and and and work as a team to do such important endeavors.
Peter Ravella 24:25
It's It's the truth in turn, and I've talked about this. We're big fans of the agency and what it does for the American people from the National Hurricane Center to the National Weather Service, the National ocean service, all of the scientific expertise that we have in government, I think it's the best agency in the US government turnoff and talk about people have a fondness for NASA, they understand it, they've seen it on TV. There's a heroism that goes with NASA. And we often believe that NOAA ought to be on the same level as NASA in the public understanding of what our country does. And what the bang for the buck that we get from our tax dollars and from the professionals in this realm. So, again, I think that background is so great, because it gives you more there, Peter. Yeah, please.
Tim Gallaudet 25:15
You know, I was constantly working to promote Noah and all the wonderful work they do in deep ocean exploration as a sort of compliment to NASA's Deep Space exploration. And and so I was at an event where I did just that, and I was quoted an article, which you can google NOAA deputy, I want to see a kid with a NOAA shirt. And what I was saying there is I was frustrated every time I go jogging on the National Mall, and obviously, kids with NASA shirts, and I constantly would tell them, I want to see you wearing a NOAA shirt. So that's something and there's another piece of that, too, when we released the national weeding the the White House Science Technology office, a national strategy for STEM education in 2018, the NASA Administrator had a few remarks and he talked about the stunning achievements NASA makes, and I got to follow him. And it was kinda like mano a mano, because I wanted him to know that we were making stunning achievements as well in the deep oceans. So it was kind of a funny thing there. And I enjoyed it, because I know and I'm a friend of Jim bridenstine. And, and that's just where we are, we are definitely doing, we had done work that was at that level. And now we will continue to do it.
Peter Ravella 26:30
100% and I'm a huge fan of Noah's deep ocean research in the live video feed from the ships operating in the deep ocean doing exploration and assessment of the resources there. It's absolutely spectacular. I am also a huge fan Tim of, of the NOAA data buoy center, and the system of remote buoy sensing all around the American shoreline. One of my favorite things to do during hurricane season is to watch those storms come across the Gulf. And look at the data that is in real time. It's truly available to the American public. It's one of my favorite
Tyler Buckingham 27:04
I've seen I've watched Peter do it.
Peter Ravella 27:06
It's true. I love it. It's this is all free to the American public. It's a great service. And Tim, if did watch Katrina come across the Gulf of Mexico. I remember it well, because it was my wedding day, on August 28 2005. And that evening, which was my wedding night, I have to say I was glued to the TV watching Katrina come across the Gulf and looking at the national database.
Tim Gallaudet 27:30
You should have been watching something else.
Peter Ravella 27:32
I certainly should have been I did turn it off. But you've had a personal experience that Katrina, I'd like you to share with the audience. Tell us what your experience was with that great storm.
Tim Gallaudet 27:43
Right. I was in the Navy at the time I was a commander of stationed in Mississippi at the Stennis Space Center. And we lived on the north of the Bay of St. Louis, right right on the bay. And I read a lovely house and coastal coastal coastal resident my entire life. So I love what to do with the American shoreline podcast. And what happened though, is we were in the worst part of the storm that was the right front quadrant would right over our neighborhoods. So that's where the winds were the greatest. That's where the storm surge was the greatest. So the highest storm surge anywhere on the coast during Katrina was in my neighborhood at 27.5 feet. And it washed away all 200 plus homes completely, like the hand of God just swept them all away. There's nothing left. And and so we came back to a slab like all our neighbors. And but but thankfully, we evacuated because of the life saving information from the National Data buoy Center and the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center. Other neighbors of ours who didn't heed those warnings did not make it sadly. And so I saw firsthand the power the storms and at storms like that, and the issues and threats they pose to the coastal residents. But I also saw firsthand the incredible work that the fine public service in the National Weather Service and NOAA do to protect
Peter Ravella 29:02
coastal communities. With so much at stake. The blue economy, as you've stated is just a massive part of the American economy. It's why your show and the background and the experience you've had throughout your career. I think we could not have a better guide to take us into understanding the blue economy. Tim, give us an overview of the podcast the American blue economy show that you are hosting which debuts this month in April and is going to be a monthly show it sounds spectacular. Give us an overview of what you hope to accomplish with your show.
Tim Gallaudet 29:41
Gladly, Peter, yes. So this American blue economy podcast aims to elevate at a national level the important information and awareness actually of the blue economy as a vital part of our post pandemic recovery. We also hope to foster cross sector collaboration in part Ships seeking solutions to some of the challenges, but also expanding and leveraging the opportunities which are numerous out there. And then thirdly, I'd like to have this podcast and myself personally, really be a thought leader at a national level in this topic of the American blue economy because of what I have, like you said, to offer in terms of my experience and knowledge. So I'm excited about that. But I also kind of broadly just to inform our listeners, we're going to tackle 14 episodes that embrace basically or encompass three broad issues, which are our nation are working to advance. The first is understanding the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes through the extraordinary science and technology enterprise that exists in our country and with international partnerships. Secondly, we will we wish to elevate again at advance efforts to improve ocean health, ocean and coastal health. So these are topics like marine debris pollution, prevention and response and clean up conserving coral reefs, fighting harmful algal blooms, fighting sea level rise, we're adapting to it, either through adaptation or the mitigation of by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and so many other aspects about ocean health, sustainable seafood, and promoting conservation of endangered species really rich area there, which I we all as ocean and coastal professionals are cared deeply about. And the third is about sustainable use and development. And we know now that we have the science and the technology to develop and use these rich resources that coastal communities depend upon whether it be through the tourism and recreation industry through offshore wind, offshore oil and gas, critical minerals, pharmaceutical development from bio prospecting, coastal development, coastal resilience, which goes hand in hand hand in hand with that, and Fisheries and Aquaculture and other important uses that communities depend upon for their, their prosperity and livelihood. So I'm excited. Those are the three big areas. And I just want to thank you and the American shoreline podcast for helping me get underway with this.
Peter Ravella 32:17
Well, it's such a massive agenda. And it's so complicated and interconnected. We need an expert to take us down that path that guide us and show us the way forward really
Tyler Buckingham 32:27
the big picture, it's
Peter Ravella 32:28
the big picture. And, man, I'm just, I'm thrilled with what you're doing and can't wait to bring it to the audience around the world. It's going to be a great show, Tim, and, and thank you as well for undertaking it. Before we close, I know that in your long years of cert government service, you're working now on a book on leadership, such a critical topic, in any successful endeavor of this complexity and magnitude. Tell us about the book you're working on now.
Tim Gallaudet 32:58
Yeah, Peter, thanks for bringing this up. Well, and I mentioned too, that a goal of the American blue economy podcast is to demonstrate thought leadership. And I want to do that based on the fact that I have some experience in this area. Thank gratefully, the Navy gave that to me. And I was able to continue that with Noah. And and what I found in that process was, it is helpful to articulate leadership approaches and philosophies and principles. And and I did that, and I have a kind of my own one pager on my leadership approach. And I've shared that with hundreds of NOAA employees and colleagues, and it's been received fairly favorably. So I thought I'd put that into a book where I tell my story of how it developed from my days as a midshipman to my time as a Navy Admiral, and then how I really applied it and almost tested it, if you will, in my time with Noah. And and so I think I have something to offer. And I'm not writing a book to make money. I'm writing this book because I want to do some good. I have have about 36 years of federal service experience. I've learned some things on the way through great examples, and some not great examples. And I thought why not help people who were maybe haven't gone very far in their journey, and make sure they don't try to re learn lessons that I already have. And so if I can do some good with this, and I know that in sharing my leadership approach with no employees and navy employees that I have done some good and help them that I feel like it's a worthy endeavor.
Tyler Buckingham 34:36
Tim on this subject, I have to ask because you're just a very positive, optimistic person. I imagine that our listeners can get that vibe from just the tone of your voice and the way you talk about things is that positivity and kind of optimism a part of your leadership style. And how can you talk to just the the importance of that element? We talked about this all the time on this podcast, Visa v the future? Are we hopeful about the future? Or are we feeling a little anxious about it? But could you talk about that from from a leadership perspective?
Tim Gallaudet 35:22
Gladly, Tyler? Well, yeah, so this leadership approach is very easy to remember. I call it all in all good. And all for one. And the all in pillar of this approach is just about being committed and dedicated. And and being a student of your people and, and your organization. The all good is what you're asking about, right? Here I am. I'm an eternal optimist, I find opportunity and challenge, and I see hope for others do not. And I, there's a, there's a great phrase here in this all good pillar, you've heard the term mean, people suck. Let me tell you, me, leaders are even worse, because you create toxic environments. And that's just no good. And anybody who's worked for one knows what I'm talking about. So positivity is important, because leaders must be brokers of hope. And if they, if they maintain that never appear bankrupt, then they'll be able to realize things that never no one would ever think possible. And I've seen this play out. And then that third pillar is all for one. And that's about teamwork. Everybody pulling together rowing in the same direction, and it's up to the leader to set that tone in that direction. So that's my leadership approach and philosophy of principles in a nutshell. And but you can see the centerpiece of it is optimism and positivity. And I've seen it work.
Peter Ravella 36:42
Well, it's it's the American tradition, we rise to the occasion, we rise to challenges. I love the phrase brokers of Hope I completely agree with you, as we're facing these complex challenges on shorelines around the world, economically, environmentally, and everything else. Having a having a belief in our capacity to do well to respond well, is what makes me so interested in the show that you're going to be doing, because you've got to someone's got to show us the path. And I think there's so much negative energy around the threats on the American shoreline and the environment. But there is a way forward and it takes experience and judgment. And Tim, that's what you've got. And that's why I'm so excited about what you're gonna do with your show.
Tim Gallaudet 37:30
Thank you, Peter, you're a great teammate in this endeavor, and I'm really excited to get underway and sail with you on this terrific journey.
Peter Ravella 37:38
Well, you've got a hell of a lot on your plate. But there's one last thing I think I want our listeners to understand. You're also the CEO of STL consulting. Tell us about that initiative now.
Tim Gallaudet 37:49
Yeah, so like I my leadership approach, I felt that I have a fair amount of experience and knowledge that I wanted to do some good with it. So it's a small consulting company that I have a few teammates, former teammates. And my goal is to advance ocean science and technology, leadership in the 21st century, American leadership does STL. And so knowing what I have known and done and purpose achieved in science and technology in this ocean and marine space, I just want to offer my services to people who think they could benefit. And so currently, I'm working with a number of organizations that hope to benefit what we're doing and various agencies, for example, NOAA and the Coast Guard, and the Navy. And I really, I'm open to partnering with anybody who has like a similar interest and, and thinks I could be of value in achieving good for our oceans and coasts and Great Lakes through science and technology and leadership.
Peter Ravella 38:45
Fantastic. We need it. And well, you say you have to be all in and committed? Well, there's no doubt about it, that you're not sitting in on the couch watching TV and your retirement get bit but getting damn busy taking on some big projects. And it's fascinating and wonderful to see. Tim, I wonder if you don't mind sticking around for part two of this show, we're going to be talking to the National Science Foundation, about the blue economy accelerator program, that convergence accelerator, really great initiative that I think builds on so much of the work that you and others at NOAA in the Department of Commerce did during your tenure. I hope you'll join us for that discussion as well.
Unknown Speaker 39:26
Peter Ravella 39:27
All right, coming up next in part two of this show, we're going to be talking about the convergence of solid accelerator and the network blue economy. An incredible federal funding opportunity for academics and business leaders around the country. something you're going to want to stay tuned and listen in on. And welcome Tyler now to the second part of this great episode of the American shoreline podcast and a focus on a brand new program from the ninth national science foundation that we are thrilled to bring to our audience. It's called the convergence accelerator. And it's focused on the network blue economy. And I know those things don't mean a lot at the moment, but they will by the end of this show, and we encourage you to stick with this. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for coastal professionals around the American shoreline. We have with us today to walk us through the convergence accelerator program, clear Harrelson who is a 2021 Canal marine policy fellow, she serves in the director's office of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Also joining her Douglas mon who is the office head of the convergence accelerator. And Chris Sanford, the program director in the convergence accelerator program at the office of integrative activities at the National Science Foundation. Well, the discussion focus today in part two is this convergence accelerator program that is out right now on for solicitation for funding proposals. And we want to kick off this segment with Doug. Mon. Doug, can you introduce our listeners to the convergence accelerator program in the networked blue economy opportunity?
Douglas Maughan 41:18
Sure National Science Foundation, which has been around for over 70 years, has the opportunity to promote the progress of science to advance the National Health prosperity and welfare and secure national defense for the for the nation, and has a vision of capitalizing on new concepts in science and engineering. The convergence accelerator is one of these new innovation models that we're piloting within the National Science Foundation. The The idea here is convergence is about multiple disciplines. So NSF is traditionally thought of as funding basic research, mostly academics. And you're not really looking at how to move the technology further down the innovation pipeline, the convergence accelerator is has been created, we're just two years old. So we're a startup inside the government. And it's really aimed at creating solutions that are multiple disciplines working together, merging ideas and approaches, and then creating those solutions based on prior funded research. So if you think about kind of a research pipeline, we're a consumer of basic research funded by other parts of the foundation, or even the private sector. And then we move that technology or those solutions down the innovation pipeline closer to commercialization. Our focus is not commercialization, but if commercialization happens, that's great. And the accelerator is, is really looking at this multiple discipline, multiple institution. So we are requiring the teams that respond to our solicitation, to be that to be teams. So it's not just some academics.
Peter Ravella 43:19
It sounds like an interesting opportunity and clear in the Division of Ocean Sciences, there is a particular funding opportunity in the convergence accelerator, called the network blue economy tract. Can you introduce our listeners to that tract? And why is it important for the National Science Foundation to direct revenues and funding to teams to tackle problems in the network below economy?
Clea Harrelson 43:46
Absolutely. Thank you so much for that. And I think what's really important to emphasize here about thinking about this networked blue economy tract, is that when we talk about the networked blue economy, much like Doug mentioned, we're talking about a really wide range of activities. And we're talking about marine transportation, we're talking about seafood and tourism and recreation, all sorts of people and services that are provided. And one thing I really want to make clear is that we're not talking about business as usual when it comes to the networked blue economy. So we want to make sure that when we're developing these new science applications, new technologies for our oceans, that we're developing, developing them sustainably. And that's where the innovation piece comes in. And that's where the convergence accelerator is such an exciting program to help deliver that. And then second, I think we really this is, you know, sort of on a broad scale, a really fundamental shift and how people see the ocean we want to change that relationship and help people see the ocean as an opportunity to help address our climate and economic challenges. So bringing together these really diverse teams bringing together industry representatives on the front end of science to be involved from that problem. As you know, from the beginning, transforms the outcomes that we get it speeds science up, it leads to a more comprehensive view of what's going on in our oceans. And it helps better informed decision makers.
Peter Ravella 45:13
It sounds like an outstanding objective and Chris Sanford as the program director for the current convergence accelerator, what's happening here, it seems, is NSF is putting millions of dollars together, making it available to interdisciplinary teams to attack specific issue areas in the network blue economy, can you talk about the opportunity that NSF has created here, and for folks out there in the listening audience, this is where you want to pay attention, there's millions of dollars available through this program, Chris, walk us through what this program offers to folks out there who might be interested in participating.
Chris Sanford 45:53
Sure, it's really about taking different entities across Ocean Sciences. And as clear was saying, you know, from from multiple groups, that really aligns with priorities that are really going to have impactful solutions to at an at a national level, and even a global level. I mean, what we're doing in the convergence accelerator through phase one and phase two, is, we hope that by the end of phase two, we have these deliverables that have an impact on a broad spectrum of people, no matter whether they're directly connected with the ocean, or indirectly connected with oceans, we know that the impact that oceans have on everything from climate, sustainability, food, energy pollution, we know the impacts of plastics in the oceans, and the economy, that's driven by oceans. And so it's really accelerating. That, as Doug was saying that fundamental research into were into the hands of the people and the communities that are directly impacted by oceans, either directly or indirectly. And it's such a broad topic, but it's really about getting these teams, working both cooperatively, but also competitively to develop these deliverables in a very short timeframe, that will have an impact. And this is very much in alignment with what's going on at the global level, with things like mission starfish, 2030, the UN decade for, for Ocean Sciences and sustainable oceans, sustainable development. So it really is taking ideas from fundamental research and putting it into the hands of the people, the directly.
Tyler Buckingham 47:42
Man, it sounds like such a utterly revolutionary program. I mean, in my entire time, following Peter the coasts and oceans of America, I don't think I've ever seen a program at all like this.
Peter Ravella 47:59
No, it really is remarkable and r&d program, really designed for application into the real world, bringing together experts and providing substantial amounts of funding
Tyler Buckingham 48:12
and kind of inventing, if you will, a conception of the blue economy space in a way that it really hasn't been articulated before. I think it's really cool. Tim guy you debt, I'd love to get your thoughts on the network blue economy convergence accelerator.
Tim Gallaudet 48:31
Sure, Tyler, this is so exciting to me for so many reasons. First off, I work very closely with NSF bill Easterling when the one of the 10 big ideas about Excel growing convergence, science and applications was put forward a few years ago. And so this is the culmination of that. And it's just fantastic. Regarding the specific blue economy aspects. There's so much potential here. Let me just throw out some ideas. So for example, the North Atlantic Right Whale is critically endangered, and it happens to migrate across shipping lanes in the northeast, and then also these shipping lanes that see frequent activity by fishermen and alike. And so how do we sustainably manage your fisheries or shipping and marine transportation and conservation of these critically endangered species? Well, what about real time acoustic monitoring using potentially drones and fixed assets so that now we can send out kind of data to shippers who can then control their speeds in a void in a real time sense? These are all ideas we thought about and convergence, science and technology will help us achieve solutions like that. Another example, coral reefs, we know their climate is affecting coral reefs as well as other other stressors and threats. Well, how are we going to restore these populations around the Florida Keys, for example? Well, there's all sorts of possibilities using AI and drone technology for monitoring as well as robotics for replanting, and all the critical science regarding ocean chemistry and environmental DNA. can contribute to the monitoring and actually raising of new and genetically more resilient species. And then of course, there's aquaculture and aquaculture can benefit that in be more sustainable through more robust monitoring using technologies. As I mentioned, Ai, drone technology, and acoustics. So these, these are just three examples that excite me, because this is going to help us advance this sustainable blue economy like never before.
Tyler Buckingham 50:26
It's, it makes me feel like the frontier space, there's just so much possibility. In this space in this program, it is very exciting to think about now, Doug, would you walk us through how it works? I know that there's two phases, but could you take us through like how how it works?
Douglas Maughan 50:48
Sure, be glad to. So the way the convergence accelerator works is, we send out to the community request for ideas. And we did that last year, we got 180 ideas back, we selected 12 of them to host workshops, and then they get developed further. And the outputs of the workshop becomes the content of the solicitation. In the case of the network, blue economy, the workshop was hosted by MIT. And you can find more informations at the oceans 20 twenty.org. website, we then take those ideas put out a solicitation, which was just released a couple of weeks ago to the community. And then people respond to our solicitation, we evaluate that and then we make decisions on awards. And we award a will award somewhere around 15 to 20 Awards. And they are all at $750,000 each. And they are for nine months, during the nine months that this is what we call phase one. During the nine months, the teams are working on their idea working on their team, building partners, finding users and customers, we put them through a whole curriculum and how to kind of build the team and build the business, then they compete for the phase two, and we have a they have to do a proposal and we have a pitch competition. And then we will down select and award four or five teams for phase two. And they will each receive up to $5 million for 24 months to further develop their solution get to a point where they've got a prototype that we can put in the hands of users and, and talk about sustainability models and strategies for how to make their idea and their solution last, you know, into the into the market. Wow.
Peter Ravella 52:57
That's real money $750,000 for the first nine months to refine the idea brought forward if you're a selected team. And then as you said, based on that competition, up to $5 million for a period of two years to advance the business development idea or the convergence accelerator idea. This is real public private investment, Doug who can apply? What can teach us a little bit about how a team could be formed and who is eligible to submit a proposal for the blue economy convergence accelerator?
Douglas Maughan 53:35
Sure, so we have actually two ways that someone could submit, we have a process, which is a traditional National Science Foundation solicitation number 21 dash 572, where a team led by an academic institution would most likely submit, we also have a parallel broad agency announcement, where an industry lead team would be able to submit it's more favorable to industry. So we're trying this as a pilot to see if we can get more industry to come to the table. But the idea is the teams are multiple disciplines, multiple institutions and multiple types of institutions. So we're expecting to see teams that include academics, nonprofits, industry, government, non government labs, and the disciplines are wide and very, it's not just about people who have ocean science backgrounds, but lawyers, journalists, computer scientists, engineers, this is the beauty of convergence is you get these disciplines together to build these solutions, but it is open to to either academic led teams industry or nonprofit led teams and you know, it's up to them to put gather their idea and put together their team. And what we ask them to do is to provide us a letter of intent by May 5, if they're going to submit a proposal that allows us to prepare the reviewers, so we have enough reviewers for the proposals. And then for proposals are actually due June 14. And we have a whole process by which they can read through that, to understand how to submit a proposal,
Chris Sanford 55:28
just to build on what Doug was saying. One of the unique differentiators of convergence accelerator is that we we help them through that process. We have a curriculum that involves coaches, so these coaches help the teams build and figure out who who other partners can be involved, and looking at looking at things like customer discovery. So they guide them through that process. So they're not alone. They they have a lot of help and assistance in moving through that that curriculum and that, that phase one, and indeed into phase two. Wow.
Peter Ravella 56:06
So I want to talk about an ad like someone to speak to this, either Doug or cliff. Or, Chris, if you can, you said that in this solicitation, unlike many National Science Foundation, funding opportunities in the past geared toward the academic community and straight research. You've opened this up to industry led teams, so a private company can build a team and submit for the blue economy, convergence Excel accelerator. Why is it important that you've opened that channel of industry lead? Can someone explain what the agency what the Science Foundation was trying to accomplish in creating this new opportunity?
Douglas Maughan 56:49
So I think the the purpose here is we believe the innovation ecosystem or pipeline or whatever you want to call it is going to be more successful, the sooner we can get industry involved, because many times the academics understand the science, they might not understand the business side of an idea or a solution, if we've got industry involved industry has, has the wherewithal to take the technology understand the business side of it, the commercial side of it, you know how to make it longer term sustainable, more than the academic participants might understand. Not that they won't learn it. But we're trying to get more industry involvement, because we believe it will get us solutions, more scalable solutions sooner during the process.
Tim Gallaudet 57:45
Hey Peter, I have a comment here.
Peter Ravella 57:47
Tim Gallaudet 57:48
So this is great. And it really builds off some work over the last few years that both NSF and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recognized. And in one of my former colleagues was the director of that office, Dr. Kelvin, drug Meyer. And he'd like to speak about this second bold era of American innovation, where the first bold era was after World War Two. And you saw the major scientific advances in fields like rocket science and getting people into space, or nuclear power or supercomputers. A lot of the big research and development was happening in the government like the National Science Foundation, like the national labs and the Department of Energy, like the Office of Naval Research. But look at the landscape now. It's totally different. Much of the major advances are occurring in the private sector. Look at SpaceX look at calidad oceanic with Victor vescovo, a private equity investor who just set all these deep ocean dives where the human operators submersible in the challenge are deep in other places. So it's that private sector leadership and Major r&d and s&t advances that I see NSF wanting to capitalize on.
Clea Harrelson 59:05
Just add to that really quickly, if I can, to say that I think part of the unique opportunity here through this convergence accelerator program, like what what Doug had already described about the end, Chris to about the coaching and the mentorship and the thoughtfulness with which these teams are sort of fostered along their journey through this convergence accelerator program is really important. In 2018, you know, the American blue economy, including, you know, all goods and services contributed about $373 billion to the nation's gross domestic product that supports like 2.3 million jobs, and that grew faster than the nation's economy overall. And so when we're thinking about this investment in these teams now, what we're really thinking about too, is an investment in the ocean literate workforce that we need to be able to not only sort of stabilize our economy in the immediate sense coming out of it. covid 19 pandemic, but but for the long term to build that ocean economy sustainably and to have the people we need to make that happen. Wow.
Tim Gallaudet 1:00:08
So clear. This is Tim and I have to applaud you for reading my playbook because this is exactly what my American blue economy podcast is about. So well done to you.
Clea Harrelson 1:00:19
Peter Ravella 1:00:20
Well, I, you know, I caught the phrase, the ocean literate workforce. I love that. And it sounds like if you're selected for phase one, you're going to your team will be financed for $750,000 for a period of program or project development for nine months. And it sounds like the teams will be interacting during this period, Doug, or or Chris, can you describe how that phase one process will work and the interplay of the teams that will be funded and participated and supported through that phase one process, it sounds really interesting,
Douglas Maughan 1:01:01
what we do is, we have a whole curriculum that they're involved in first, it's team science. So a lot of these teams have actually never worked together before. And when you put the individuals together for the first time, they don't always work well together, right? So we have a whole curriculum on Team science to help them understand what it means to work together as a team, how they can be successful. Second, we put them through a process of Human Centered Design. So thinking about their solutions. And, you know, in the end, there's a human somewhere in that, you know, at the end of the, at the end of the rope there, right? And so how do you develop solutions with a human in mind, we then have the teams go out and do customer interviews, because many times an academic idea may never work in the real world. So if I go out and talk to real users and customers, I now start to get a better feel for whether what my original idea was going to work or not. Or if I need to make some changes to the idea, make some changes to my team, then they're invited to, to add and subtract team members, they've got a lot of flexibility in how they manage their project. We put them through a whole process of pitching and storytelling, teach them how to market their idea. And then they come into the last part of the the phase one, they have to submit a proposal, and then they participate in a pitch competition with Review Board. And so it's, you know, telling their story and pitching their idea to try to get that funding for the second phase.
Tyler Buckingham 1:02:46
I mean, it sounds like the most exciting thing imaginable is basically where I'm at on it, most exciting thing imaginable. There it is, Chris, there's several tracks here, that that are a part of the convergence accelerator. But there's there's one, network blue economy, kind of ocean coastal space. And I'm just wondering if you mentioned before, I think Doug mentioned before that there was this kind of scoping session at MIT previously, but are there any particular challenges associated with the blue economy space, as maybe compared to some of the other track offerings of the network accelerator, which has made the convergence accelerator?
Chris Sanford 1:03:34
Yeah, you know, I think it is such a broad topic, that I think it's going to be important for people to identify it whatever the particular team is, or whatever the group is, are they engaging the right partnerships in order to develop that solution or that that deliverable, or deliverables and the end of three years that's really going to improve? humans interact human interaction with both the oceans as an environment and as a resource in a sustainable way? And I think, and part of the overarching theme, and something that we use actually to evaluate proposals is track alignment, how are the different projects going to interact with one another in an integrative way, so that it falls under this larger umbrella of the whole networked blue economy, we, you know, we have to have the right combinations of teams, and the right partnerships that are aligned, that are going to interact with one another to produce an overarching integration across the network blue economy, it won't just be a series of individual projects. It really has to be integrated. And that's part of the process of phase one. And indeed into phase two, where the teams get to know what are other teams doing how How can my partnership be more successful by engaging partners from other other entities or other groups? And and so we're looking for success, not just of each individual team, but also across teams as well.
Peter Ravella 1:05:16
Wow. I, and I think Tyler and I both have the sense that this has never been tried before this integration of the public sector, the private sector, underlying capital investment from the government on a broad scale. Tim, you were the leader at NOAA, at the Department of Commerce as Undersecretary for oceans and atmospheres when the when when the agency released the blue economy strategic plan, just this past January, a five year strategy? Can you talk about how this particular effort by NSF dovetails with what you were hoping to see in that strategic plan that your agency developed and released just in January 2021?
Tim Gallaudet 1:06:04
Yes, exactly. Peter, that's what's so exciting about this is that there are a number of actions in this strategic plan by NOAA that this convergence accelerator tract will address in support. And one of them in particular was advancing public private partnerships with us agencies and academia. And as you can see this, this, this accelerator is all about that. And then what I really like the idea, the teaming aspect of this is really about implementing that and making making that those partnerships succeed. It's a pretty lengthy plan, by the way, but I will point out that it was the principal editor was my canals fellow, Dr. Alexa, scrub Anak so clear, you have big shoes to fill? I know you'll do great.
Clea Harrelson 1:06:50
I'll certainly try.
Peter Ravella 1:06:51
Well, you know, Doug, I, one of the things that's interesting in reviewing the program, opportunity materials that describe what the National Science Foundation is looking for here is this notion that the phase one teams that are selected and funded that you were expecting this interplay between the teams, and possibly reformations and realignment of teams, as that process occurs. That seems really exciting. And I wonder, when you guys were putting this initiative together? Was there a model out there that you could look to and say, This is how we think this is going to go? Or are you thinking, we're going to find out how this synergistic opportunity is going to play out.
Douglas Maughan 1:07:39
So we looked at what happens in the real world of industry, right? Companies partner together on proposals, they work together, sometimes they decide, you know, this company is no longer useful. And so it's a very dynamic work environment, right? In the academic world, they're not used to that. They're, it's more of a, if I get the funding, I keep the same team. And that's been the one thing that's been interesting is to watch the academic community understand that as they go down this process, but there are times when you need to change team members, you need to get some new people you need to maybe you don't need somebody on your team anymore. And what we wanted to create was a dynamic environment that that really modeled the real world where teams grow and, and change through time.
Peter Ravella 1:08:39
Real quickly, this is not the first convergence accelerator funding opportunity, as you said, this program started in 2019. And in looking at the other funding tracks with this same basic philosophy and approach, it looked like you had invested in quantum mechanics, and other really interesting and innovative subject areas. Can you can, Christopher, can you talk a little bit about the experience that NSF has had with the accelerator program so far, and how that team evolution has played out? In the experience to date?
Chris Sanford 1:09:16
Doug is probably better positioned to answer that particular question. All right.
Douglas Maughan 1:09:21
So our first year in 2019, we had two topics. One was open knowledge networks, which is think about data science. And the second one is what we call the future of work and looking at how artificial intelligence is going to impact the future jobs in this country. So really interesting topics. The first one on open knowledge networks, just one example project. We've got a team out of the University of Cincinnati looking at flooding, and how do we share flood information? more rapidly around the country. So they've got all kinds of city government, state government, national government, as well as industry and technology developers. The one I would tell you about in the future of work, a team led by Vanderbilt University, is looking at the neuro diversity issue and employment. So think about the autistic workforce, many autistic adults are unemployed or underemployed. And so how do we create technology that helps an autistic worker? be better prepared to go out into the marketplace to get a job? And how can we help employers be better prepared to bring them on board? So really interesting activities. Our second year, we had a quantum technology and an artificial intelligence technology. We're still in phase one. So we don't have the phase two selections yet. But we've got teams working on all kinds of different things, including education for quantum, you know, quantum we talked about earlier, a network blue economy literate workforce, we have the same issue on the quantum side, what what are we doing in our country to teach the next generation of students and scientists about quantum and quantum technology, and on the AI side, and we have a lot of things in AI that are looking at specific domains like health care, fires, you know, first responders, things like that. So, you know, as I mentioned earlier, we are startup, we don't actually have a first product yet, but, but we're making some great headway. And the model seems to be working quite well.
Chris Sanford 1:11:50
We even have a project looking at the judicial system and the impacts on being able to access information about about the judicial system, which is, to many people, it's very challenging to get information about how it's impacting certain groups. And so, so we have a very wide range of projects that are currently being funded.
Tyler Buckingham 1:12:19
It is just so kind of overwhelming to think about Peter and I think about goodness, the issues that affect people on the American shoreline and the industries of the American shoreline, which I think was kind of our independently contrived way of describing a blue economy in a way in our little world. But, man, there's just so many deeply siloed off groups. And the idea, ladies and gentlemen, is that this convergence accelerator, will pour money on the on the idea of coming up with new ways to work together new ways to, I think kind of defined the, the four corners of the space, Doug, that's the way you described it on our pre call that really stuck with me. And man, I just I really like the idea of our listeners trying to put to trying to participate in this program. Before we get too far. Of course, we'll put all of this information in the show description, there will be links. But Chris, could you tell us tell our audience just quickly, where they could learn more,
Chris Sanford 1:13:32
you can certainly go to the website, the convergence accelerator website on the National Science Foundation website, and you will find under Office of integrative activities, you'll find the convergence accelerator program, and then you can find all this information, much of this information about what's been awarded the current solicitation, the broad agency announcement, you can find it all on the website,
Peter Ravella 1:14:02
that it's very helpful. And as Souter said, we will post those links for folks who are listening in and want to learn more about this funding opportunity. Doug, can you tell our audience when this program is going to kick off,
Douglas Maughan 1:14:14
as we mentioned, the letter of intent is due in May with full proposals due in June. We anticipate decisions will be made in August for the funding, and the program will kick off in September. So it's a pretty short window from the time they submit a letter of intent until they have an award from the National Science Foundation. So it's less than six months. And then there'll be involved in the phase one activities for the next nine months.
Peter Ravella 1:14:42
That's a very quick start. So folks out there listening, this is the time to start thinking about your team. It's time to look at that word solicitation that's out there. It'll be linked to the podcast and put your teams together and put your letter of intent together. June 5 is I mean, may 5 is the deadline, let's get it done and get this program off the ground sounds like a great opportunity, Doug. In going through the, the BA the announcement for the private sector and looking at the solicitation materials, this letter of intent deadline is May 5 2021. And I just want to make sure that the audience understands this letter of intent is a fairly low bar of entry into the program. It's sort of a notification to the National Science Foundation that you intend to submit a full proposal in June, June 14 2021 is the deadline. But that letter intent needs to identify the team members who were who is who is going to be on your team, and the fundamental purpose of the interplay of the groups and what you're going to try to attack. Can someone I don't know if this is Doug or Chris, can you explain a little bit more about the letter of intent and let's teach some people how they can actually dive into this incredible opportunity?
Chris Sanford 1:16:02
Sure, it's a brief letter is one page, it should identify the multidisciplinary team that will build this convergence research effort, it should identify one or more deliverables, and it's going to be a broad, it's going to be not very deep. It may not it doesn't have to be very detailed, but it should identify one or more deliverables, and how that research deliverable or the outputs of the research could impact society at a national scale. And the team that's going to be formed to carry that out. Certainly, you can go to the solicitation, and you can get more information about what should be in that, in that letter of intent as well as in the for proposals. Great,
Peter Ravella 1:16:50
Tim, when we're talking about the blue economy, if we can move up to 30,000 feet, and it seems like there is a a real interest now, not just in the United States, but obviously at the United Nations for the sustainable program for sustainable science and development. The the UN decade, it's called, there is a real interest around the world in the power of the blue economy. Can you talk a little bit about how that understanding developed over the last, I don't know, 510 years that brought us to a point now, where the government is leading this r&d program to really try to tackle the blue economy. It's just it's interesting to see these convergences occur.
Tim Gallaudet 1:17:33
Sure, Peter, in fact, let's go back even farther, you know, if you want to go into Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, I was growing up when conservation and business, there was no in between, there was no Nexus. And, and but we've evolved it, which is wonderful. And it's there, it's all science based. And now we're finding these these Win Win situations where we can sustainably develop for economic growth, at the same time, conserve our abundant and beautiful natural resources for future generations. And that's what we're all talking about here. And I you know, as I told you before, folks, my background as was in the Navy, and when I was an admiral in the Navy, we would get together and I never talked about losing, I talked about winning. And that's what we should be talking about here is is Win Win situations for our planet, and for the people on our planet, and their prosperity.
Tyler Buckingham 1:18:32
Well, and if I can just say, Peter, before you wrap this up, you know, I think that one of the things that and i'm i'm speaking just for myself, ladies and gentlemen, it's just you and me here. But you know, it's been a pretty oxygen deprived environment, I think, largely, at least in my tenure here on working, following the issues of the American shoreline here with Peter, on this very podcast and on coastal news today calm, we've been following things. And let's just say that opportunities like this don't have not come around much. This is like the proverbial throwing gasoline on a creative solution. I mean, this is cashola. And I'm really hopeful that this will, that new connections will be invented new ways of seeing it will be invented new identities. I think that one of the things Peter we've been working on this entire time is good to get people to think like their coastal citizens, right? Because they because think, geographically, think about where you are because you're all connected. And this is a really excellent, excellent opportunity for American industry to invent some new opportunities and I'm excited to follow along.
Peter Ravella 1:19:52
It really is remarkable to see and along the American shoreline and everybody at NOAA and I know at NSF understands, there are industry sectors that are well founded and deep, whether it's in real estate, coastal development, tourism, shipping, the dredging industry, the fishing industry, they're all occupying the same space along the American shoreline, they overlap, they're on top of each other. And we're facing a period of challenges that requires us to get out of our individual silos. And, Doug, that's why I think this program is so innovative and interesting, is that built into the framework of this thing, from the very beginning is this notion of multidisciplinary teams and requiring this cross disciplinary interaction from academic and the private sector. It's a great idea. And what do you hope that can produce that's different than how we've attacked complex problems in the past?
Douglas Maughan 1:20:56
So I think we've we as a nation, oftentimes, on the science side of things, we have been very siloed. And, and very narrowly focused, you know, a lot of times people have their idea and their, what they're interested in and haven't thought about the bigger picture. And what I believe we're trying to create and cause to happen within the convergence accelerator is, as you said, you know, it is multiple disciplines, it's multiple sectors, it's, you know, it's how do I think outside of the box, and outside of myself and my own research interests? And how can I take my ideas, pair them with somebody else's ideas, and work towards solutions that are much larger scale with potentially larger impact?
Peter Ravella 1:21:48
That's the trick of the trade, I think, on the American shoreline and coastlines around the world, given the economic interests that involve as as clear, as you said, the substantial economic courts power of the coastal and blue economy, it's a gigantic and weak ask so much of our coastlines in these physical areas, we've got to do a better job of understanding it and attacking it from every perspective. This sounds like a wonderfully exciting program. Tim, I'm gonna get let's let's do last last thoughts. Tim, I'm going to start with you, as someone who has been a leader in the development of this strategy for the country in the blue economy strategic plan, but it's got to be exciting to see this, the National Science Foundation really put the money on the table in a really structured program with exciting opportunities ahead.
Tim Gallaudet 1:22:45
Indeed, he is Peter. And what I love about this is traditionally the National Science Foundation focused on basic research. And maybe this is a for telling of what might become a national science and technology foundation. I know there's draft legislation to create that. Ultimately, though, I love that NSF is becoming more innovative in their application and direction for research. And here we we are going to see real, tangible, direct and nearly immediate, positive outcomes that will again support our environment and support our people I love it
Peter Ravella 1:23:20
sounds great and clear as how long First of all, would you please tell us a little bit about your Marine, your canals fellowship? How long are you going to be with the program? And what do you hope to accomplish in your role in the rollout of this program at the division of Ocean Sciences?
Advertisement Read 1:23:37
That's a great question. So this program, the canal's marine policy fellowship is a year long. So I started in February. So I'm pretty new to the National Science Foundation. But I still hope to accomplish a lot. And it's exciting to be part of these conference conversations, because I think one of the things that stands out to me about this particular program, and that I hope to carry through as a thread throughout my fellowship is equity. And this has been a priority of the Biden administration as well, you know, we've seen that become one of the four pillars of Biden's administration, racial equity. And I think that when you talk about building different types of teams, that's really exciting to me. And I think this is the US and NSF responding to this momentum. And this kind of national and international conversation about not only what kind of science we want, what kind of Oceans we want, what kind of communities we want around this. So, like you said before, I think this is just a really exciting time to be part of ocean science and technology, and I'm excited for what the rest of the year holds.
Peter Ravella 1:24:42
Well, I wish you well, and the clock must feel like it's ticking. But because this really is an amazing program to launch and Doug is the office head for the convergence accelerator. I got to say you're in an amazing position professionally. It must be exciting for you to lead this innovative program. Graham, can you talk about your hopes over the next year with this effort?
Douglas Maughan 1:25:04
We have great hopes over the next year and beyond. As we've seen in the first two years, it's a change. It's a it's a new way to think about business between academia and industry. Oh, we're, you know, we're putting new topics out every year, we see an opportunity for tremendous momentum for this program. And not just for the blue economy, track, but even future tracks. I think the more people know about it, the more involvement from industry and, and, and the communities etc. I think we, we see nothing but a bright future and a great Horizon.
Peter Ravella 1:25:47
Well, well, success breeds success. So we wish everybody well Chris Sanford as the program director in the convergence accelerator. Can you tell our audience a little bit about the about the support for this on Capitol Hill? Hopefully, the funding for this kind of innovative thinking at the at the agency level will continue? Do you feel like you've that that, that you've got the support of the folks on the hill to make this thing a reality for, for the future beyond this particular tract of the blue economy? Yeah, I
Chris Sanford 1:26:23
think that there is tremendous support at the federal level, Congress, I think, and I really, I'm gonna reiterate what Doug said, which is, you know, I think this new model, this new way of doing research, doing convergent research, and the convergence accelerator mechanism, is really hopefully going to lead the way and be a model of how to unleash the power of things like the blue economy. But of all tracks as Doug was saying, and and i think that there's there's tremendous support for science and technology and moving science and technology into the hands of the people where it has the greatest impact, and improves the lives of everybody.
Peter Ravella 1:27:08
And that's ultimately the point and the purpose of the entire thing. Maybe we're entering in the 21st century now another era of a great American innovation and scientex knowledge. They leadership around the world because we've been there before and and
Tyler Buckingham 1:27:23
that's why we're here like I'm here to watch it. I want to see this happen. This is I'm rooting for it.
Peter Ravella 1:27:28
We want to follow it along. Ladies and gentlemen, what a great program. Thank you everybody, for participating. It's clear Harrelson who's the 2021 canalso Marine policy fellow in the director's office at the division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation, Douglas mon, who's the office, head of the convergence accelerator and his close partner, Chris Sanford, the program director, and joining us as and we're so excited to have Tim gaggy debt as a member of the American shoreline Podcast Network, new host of the American blue economy, podcast on ESPN. So we will we will closely follow the work that you guys are doing and you're welcome back anytime to tell us what you're doing and how it's working out. We'd love to have you back.