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HPU partners with the Oceanic Institute

by Kalamalama staff


On June 6, the HPU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a contract of affiliation and cooperation between HPU and The Oceanic Institute in windward O‘ahu. Earlier, on May 12, the Institute’s governing board had approved the contract.

The collaboration of education and research resources will allow HPU and the Institute to expand their scientific programs and educational outreach in marine aquaculture, biotechnology, and marine environmental science.

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“This partnership between Hawai‘i Pacific University and The Oceanic Institute will open up vast, new opportunities for HPU that were previously a vision,” stated HPU President Chatt G. Wright. “Our students and faculty will have access to Oceanic’s scientists and extensive laboratories for the Institute’s research and education in marine science and biotechnology. Hawai‘i Pacific will expand its marine and environmental science and oceanography programs into new master’s and doctoral level-programs in the sciences as a result of this affiliation.”


HPU is one of the few universities in the nation to offer hands-on oceanographic field research to undergraduate students through its research vessel moored in Kane‘ohe Bay. HPU undergraduate students have participated in many research projects and internships with faculty members, including use of submersibles for underwater research. The affiliation with the Institute will greatly enhance these opportunities, according to both Wright and Dr. Thomas E. Farewell, president of The Oceanic Institute.


“This cooperative agreement with HPU will allow us to expand our education and training programs,” said Farewell, “thereby enabling a broader dissemination of the marine science and aquaculture technologies developed by our scientists. “The Institute’s esteemed scientific reputation at home and abroad will complement HPU’s national and international reputation as a leading academic center for education.”
The Oceanic Institute develops technologies designed to increase aquatic food production, restore marine fisheries, and protect ocean resources. Its scientists resolve problems associated with the culture of marine shrimp and significant finfish species through multidisciplinary research and development in areas such as life-cycle technologies; aquatic microbiology; analytical biochemistry; nutrition; feeds processing and live feeds production; aquaculture production system design; and animal health, genetic selection, and behavior studies.
“The affiliation between Hawai‘i Pacific University and The Oceanic Institute will further Hawai‘i’s stature as a global center for research and education in aquaculture, biotechnology, and the marine sciences,” said U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye. “I am hopeful that it will provide greater hands-on learning opportunities for Hawai‘i’s students, and those who travel to our islands, inspiring them to enter into a variety of science fields, or even as entrepreneurs of the technologies developed,” Inouye added.
Officers of both organizations have considered a partnership between HPU and the Institute for almost three years. As part of the affiliation, HPU’s President Wright will serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Oceanic Institute, and two-thirds of the Institute’s Trustees will be selected by HPU. Oceanic’s President Dr. Thomas Farewell will become an executive vice president of HPU.
The Oceanic Institute and Hawai‘i Pacific University hail the affiliation as a significant enhancement for both institutions and emphasize that the affiliation will not affect existing collaborations, partnerships, and Institute programs with other organizations and, in fact, should enhance the opportunities for additional research and education collaborations in the State and around the world. Each institution remains responsible for developing and funding its core research and educational programs. The Institute remains a publicly supported, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), applied research and development corporation. HPU remains a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), nonsectarian, coeducational, postsecondary educational institution.
“The formal affiliation between HPU and the Institute will provide another avenue to transfer the technology developed at the Institute, providing great exposure to students and faculty,” said Dr. Shaun M. Moss, director of Shrimp Technology at The Oceanic Institute and associate professor of Biology at HPU. “I hope that my colleagues at the Institute join me in teaching classes at HPU, and I look forward to opportunities for collaborative research at the Institute with HPU faculty.”
Dr. Andrew Brittain, acting dean of the College of Natural Sciences at HPU, agrees, “Our professors can collaborate with Oceanic Institute’s scientists on projects of mutual interest, and students will have expanded opportunities in scientific research through the Institute field experiences. It’s a wonderful relationship, as research-oriented lab and fieldwork are large components of the HPU educational experience.”
The Institute’s extensive research facilities include hatchery facilities for marine shrimp and finfish, aquatic feeds research laboratories, microbiology and chemical analysis laboratories, and classroom facilities that include a wet lab and computer access.
“The opportunity allows us to develop certificate programs in areas such as aquaculture, offer a graduate program in applied marine science, and share facilities for research and education. The possibilities are limitless,” continued Dr. Brittain.
“The Institute routinely offers internships to high school and university students and provides vocational training to community-based groups and small farmers,” said Gary E. Karr, manager of Communications, Education, and Training for The Oceanic Institute. “Our collaboration with HPU will give us the ability to offer courses leading to a certificate or degree that combines our hands-on style with HPU’s academic environment. HPU graduates also have career opportunities with the Institute. It’s a win-win relationship—both institutions win, the faculty and researchers win, the students win, and the community wins.”
Hawai‘i Pacific University was founded in 1965. HPU, with an overall student body in excess of 9,000 and with an annual budget of over $85 million, is Hawai‘i’s largest private university. Currently, HPU has two campuses, a downtown campus centered on Fort Street Mall, and the 135-acre residential Hawai‘i Loa campus located in Kane‘ohe. Also, HPU has more than 1,200 faculty and staff and boasts an endowment fund of almost $65 million. Considered one of the most diverse universities in the nation with student representation from more than 100 countries, HPU offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs located within seven schools and colleges, including the College of Natural Sciences, which serves as an umbrella for HPU’s science-based programs.
The Oceanic Institute, located on 56 acres at Makapu‘u Point on O‘ahu, was founded in 1960. Education and research facilities are also located in Kona on the island of Hawai‘i. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit, applied research and education organization dedicated to the development and transfer of technology and applications in aquaculture, environmental science, and marine biology. It has an annual research budget of $8 million and employs more than 100 staff.


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