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A Simple, Effective Project Selection System for the Alaska Ocean Observing System

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This article describes a simple but effective project prioritization and selection system developed and used by the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) (, one of eleven regional systems within the national Integrated Ocean Observation System ( Because Alaska has 71,000 km of coastline, extreme weather, and limited existing infrastructure, developing and operating a fully functioning ocean observing system will be challenging and quite costly. With AOOS’s recent annual budgets averaging only about $1.5 million (including program administrative costs), the AOOS Board must choose which projects to fund first from a long list of candidates. Working with staff, the board developed a project selection system that integrates scientific and socioeconomic criteria and seeks to balance benefits, costs, and risks. That system draws on consultation with information users and on analyses by both scientific and socioeconomic technical advisory committees. The board found the system to be efficient and effective; it may be useful to other programs and regions developing coastal ocean observing systems.

Keywords: Alaska; cost-benefit analysis; economic analysis; ocean observing; project selection

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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