Duke University secures funding of a new marine lab RV construction
Duke University says it has received $11 million for the construction and operation of a new state-of-the-art ship that will expand teaching and research capabilities at its marine lab.
The gift to the Nicholas School of the Environment comes from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund, a donor-advised fund at The Chicago Community Trust. It provides $5 million to build the new 68-foot oceangoing RV and an additional $6 million to support operating costs.
The ship will have wet and dry labs, oceanographic equipment, a galley and sleeping quarters. It will be an ocean-going classroom to train undergraduate and graduate students in oceanography and marine biology at the Duke Marine Lab at Beaufort, North Carolina. It will be used to support science outreach programs for local K-12 teachers, students and community members. Researchers and instructors from other institutions will also be able to charter the vessel for scientific or educational purposes.
The vessel will allow researchers and other institutions to conduct research along the Atlantic seaboard in a wide range of vital fields, including marine ecology and conservation, biological oceanography, and renewable ocean energy development.
Design and construction is expected to take about two years, but a shipyard has not been chosen. Two full-time crew members and a part-time crew member will be employed in Beaufort to staff the boat.
The Duke Marine Lab is a year-round teaching and research campus located on Pivers Island in Beaufort. It offers academic programs at the doctoral, masters and undergraduate levels, and is home to the Nicholas School’s Marine Science and Conservation Division.