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The secret behind a new ocean consortium tackling climate change

Analog Devices and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution created the Ocean & Climate Innovation Accelerator (OCIA) to focus on advancing ocean and planet health

The secret behind a new ocean consortium tackling climate change

What is the Ocean & Climate Innovation Accelerator (OCIA) and the reason for its creation?

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A recent IPCC report acknowledges that emissions reductions—although critical—are simply not going to be enough to make a meaningful difference for climate change. We know that we need to do more than reduce our carbon emissions: We need to find ways to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we put in. The ocean, and technology, can help us get there.

The OCIA, founded in 2021 by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Analog Devices, is a consortium focused on advancing ocean and planet health. We are on a mission to create a “solutions engine” that brings together the people, projects, and places capable of responding to a wide range of urgent climate challenges and therefore mobilizing the science and engineering brainpower to solve them.

The OCIA is a science and industry collaboration dedicated to creating an oceanwide network of intelligent, intercommunicating platforms, vehicles, and sensors to track ocean conditions.

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We are off to a great start, but we’re actively seeking others to join the OCIA. The consortium will only become more effective as it scales.

Why is ADI a founding member?

For decades, Analog Devices has built bridges between the physical and digital worlds, transforming complex, real-world signals into insights and actions that improve lives. Problem solvers by trade, we realize that one of the greatest challenges of our time is the climate crisis.

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To bring forward better solutions requires a bold, new approach. While technology will play a huge part, we cannot do this alone. That’s where the OCIA comes in.

The OCIA is an extension of our philosophy of tackling problems that truly matter, and it provides our employees an opportunity to help develop effective climate change solutions.

What’s unique about ADI’s support of the OCIA?

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At ADI, we bring the full depth and breadth of our resources to support the consortium. As a start, ADI has committed $3 million to fund OCIA. Thus far, we have issued five grants focused on ocean-based carbon capture and transport to WHOI researchers.

These grants consist of three Incubation Awards—smaller grants to fund early exploration work—and two Acceleration Awards—larger grants to support design and/or early execution of new, cutting-edge scientific initiatives. The OCIA will take a venture-capital-style approach to help scale the most successful of these projects with further support.

While this is important, our open and active collaboration with WHOI researchers is equally, if not more, valuable. We are providing access to ADI’s smartest minds for ideation and innovation.

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Oftentimes in climate and science research, the research happens first, and solutions come second. We’re breaking down the silos between the two and ensuring that WHOI researchers have access to technologies and expertise to strengthen their projects from the very beginning.

What does this collaboration look like?

Our ADI engineers may have a general understanding of WHOI’s expertise and projects, and vice versa, but part of our mission is identifying the areas ADI can support most. Sometimes, the researchers may not even know we had a given capability or technology in development.

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Communication is an important piece of the collaboration. This plays out in many ways. We connect grant recipients with ADI engineers in their needed area of expertise. We also hold monthly talks between ADI and WHOI and have private, online collaboration spaces so employees from both organizations can share ideas in real time. Every WHOI scientist and engineer—not just grant recipients—can connect with ADI to access our existing technologies for help designing them into current projects.

What has the response been like so far from employees?

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Employees are very eager to participate. Whenever our teams get to see their contributions in action, they feel even more pride in their work. With the OCIA, this means they can see how their involvement is making a direct difference in the fight against climate change. That’s an energizing feeling for me and for many employees at ADI.

How can others get involved?

Climate action requires collective courage and collaboration. We’re welcoming new member companies with all levels of expertise, complementary technologies, and resources to unlock the ocean’s potential.

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Learn more about the OCIA, our mission, and current activities, and register here for our July 12 webinar.

Dan Leibholz is chief technology officer for Analog Devices, a founding corporate member of the OCIA.

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