Friday, 5. October 2012 - 17:00

OIST and MBL Sign Scientific Cooperation Agreement

One scientific institution held its inaugural ceremonies last year, while the other will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2013. Despite their age difference, the many affinities between the new Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have led them to form an Agreement on Scientific Cooperation, announced today.

Both OIST and MBL are international, nonprofit institutions devoted to creative research and graduate-level training in the natural sciences. Particular areas of synergy include marine biology, biodiversity, genomics, biological imaging, informatics and computational biology.

Through this Agreement, OIST and MBL will seek to establish mutually beneficial collaborations to benefit their students and scientists, including staff exchanges, exchange of scientific/technological information and research materials, and joint research activities.

This agreement creates many opportunities for students and researchers from both institutions,” said OIST President Jonathan Dorfan. OIST Provost Robert Baughman added, “OIST has collaborated in the past with another Woods Hole institution, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), in such areas as an Okinawa coastal ocean observation system and larval dispersal of hydrothermal vent species. Collaboration with the MBL opens a new chapter in our history of education and research on biology and the environment.  By bringing together complementary minds, collaboration hastens the process of discovery.

The MBL is pleased to enter into a scientific agreement with OIST,” said MBL President and Director Gary Borisy. “Both MBL and OIST understand that global collaboration and interdisciplinary interaction are crucial for accelerating discovery in the biological and biomedical sciences. We look forward to many productive interactions with OIST students and scientists.

OIST is an independent, interdisciplinary graduate school offering a 5-year Ph.D. program. Over half of the faculty and students are recruited from outside Japan, and all education and research is conducted in English. OIST researchers are conducting multi-disciplinary research in areas including neuroscience, molecular sciences, environmental and ecological sciences, mathematical and computational sciences, and physical sciences. The graduate school recruits the best students and accepts 20 students per year, who are fully funded by OIST. Balancing lectures with lab work, the doctoral program places students in well-supported labs where they work side by side with top researchers on state-of-the-art equipment. Global networking and collaboration, including with industry, is encouraged and developed within the graduate program.

Founded in 1888, the MBL is an international center dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. More than 270 resident scientists and staff are joined each year by more than 400 visiting scientists and staff from institutions around the world. The MBL’s advanced, laboratory-based courses are renowned for the major impact that faculty and alumni have had on scientific and biomedical discovery in their fields—including cellular physiology, embryology, neurobiology, and microbiology. Among the scientists affiliated with the MBL as researchers, faculty, or alumni are 54 Nobel Prize winners (since 1929) and 202 members of the US National Academy of Sciences (since 1960). The MBL and Brown University offer a joint Ph.D. degree program in Biological and Environmental Sciences, and the MBL also offers postgraduate and undergraduate research training.

Press Release (PDF)

Contact information

Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory, 508-289-7139;