The School of Oceanography at the University of Washington is a national leader in oceanographic research and education. The UW Oceanographic Laboratories, founded in 1930 and directed by Professor Thomas G. Thompson, were the precursor of the School. The School of Oceanography was organized formally in 1951.
The School occupies modern laboratories in three principal buildings at the southwestern edge of the University of Washington campus overlooking Portage Bay: the Marine Science Building, the Ocean Teaching Building, and the Ocean Sciences Building. Additional facilities are located at the UW's Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island.
Observation, theory and experiment all contribute to research and education in the School. Access to the sea is provided by our two ships: R/V Thomas G. Thompson, a state-of-the-art 274-foot, 3000 ton vessel, operating virtually anywhere in the world's oceans, and the 65-foot R/V Clifford A. Barnes, working in Puget Sound, nearshore areas, and the Columbia River estuary.
Technological advances have opened opportunities for new observing systems and the School is active in the ARGO float program, the ECOHAB program, development of the SeaGlider system and the Ocean Observatory Initiative/Regional Scale Nodes(OOI/RSN) optic telescope to inner space. Specialized shore-based laboratories offer unique facilities for experimental investigation and for analyzing samples collected at sea and drawn during experimental runs.
The many research activities of the School advance our knowledge of the oceans and contribute to the understanding of societal concerns. The School maintains strong links to other programs within the University of Washington and is active in national and international programs. Sponsored research funding averages $14 million per year, although this number has lately increased due to the $126 million over 5½ years for the Regional Scale Nodes program.