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WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME – Bigelow Laboratory and Colby College have entered a strategic partnership that will expand educational and research opportunities in marine sciences for Bigelow’s scientists and for Colby students and faculty, Colby President William D. Adams and Bigelow Laboratory Executive Director Graham Shimmield announced today.

“Education is a core part of the Laboratory’s mission, and it’s integral to our strategic plans for the future,” said David Coit, Chair of the Bigelow Board of Trustees. “The partnership we’ve made official today represents a pivotal moment in our evolution as a world-class ocean science and education institution.”

The strategic partnership includes an expansion of the marine sciences curriculum at Colby and an increase in undergraduate student research. The vision for the evolution of this partnership includes collaborative teaching opportunities that would take advantage of the resources at both institutions, semester-long in-residence study by Colby students at Bigelow, and curricular innovations that combine scientific research with economic and social policy analysis.

“We’re delighted to be working with Colby College to help train the next generation of oceanographers,” said Shimmield. “Our new Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay will give us the opportunity to develop a range of education programs and initiatives with the College. Our two institutions share a mutual vision about the importance of expanding educational opportunities in marine sciences.”

“We are very excited about the potential for this partnership,” Adams said. “For our students and faculty, it will provide access to ocean research at a level simply not possible before, and it is hard to overstate the academic possibilities that will present themselves in the coming years.”

Today’s agreement formalizes a relationship between the research scientists at Bigelow and Colby faculty members and students that has been growing for some time. This year research scientists from Bigelow offered courses at Colby in bioinformatics and in oceans and climate change as part of the College’s January Program, an intensive four-week term during which students focus on a single course, internship, or research project. A key component of the partnership is a commitment to extend the January Program course offerings taught by Bigelow scientists through 2013.

The partnership will also encourage current and future research collaborations between Bigelow Laboratory and Colby. Shimmield noted as an example the recent National Science Foundation three-year, $610,893 award to Bigelow’s Dr. David Emerson, which includes co-investigator Professor Whitney King at Colby. The award is for field research on water chemistry within microbial systems.

Located in Waterville, Maine, Colby combines world-class academic programs with an active campus life, student leadership and volunteer options, and rich opportunities after graduation. Students work closely with professors exploring new ideas, stretching to expand their knowledge and perceptions of the world. Colby is international—in its outlook, its student body and faculty, its curriculum, its study-abroad opportunities, and the impact of its graduates. Colby’s Maine location offers natural beauty, a spirit of independence, a rich tradition of creative endeavor, and unique access to government, nonprofit, and business institutions. The college enrolls 1,850 students.

An internationally known center for global ocean research since its founding in 1974, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography, examining biological productivity in the world’s oceans at the molecular level, to the large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive interactions between ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions. These programs have taken Bigelow scientists around the world to every ocean and the polar seas.