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Innovative Business Strategies for Financing Ocean Exploration: The Win-Win-Win “Citizen Science” Model

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Humans have mapped less than 5% of the ocean floor and studied less than 1% of the marine environment. Historically, the primary reason for so few exploration initiatives is a lack of adequate financing. This global lack of funding is in turn driven by a number of other potential factors that affect the three general groups involved in these types of activities: namely, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit companies. Since none of the three groups can achieve significant advances in ocean exploration on their own, the clear solution is collaboration, both within each group and also among the three groups. Even as ocean exploration projects move slowly toward a more collaborative approach, the question remains of how to best finance the efforts, and a new innovative source of capital may be justified. Looking at other fields and industries, we can leverage two emerging global trends and combine them into a unique financing model: high-end travel enthusiasts seeking “experience” trips who are also interested in “citizen science” expeditions. This commentary reviews three case studies on the potential viability of using this model as a strategy to finance ocean exploration.
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Document Type: Commentary

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • 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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