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Frequently Asked Questions

About AVAST: Mission, Scope, & Vision

What is AVAST and what does it do?

AVAST is WHOI's new initiative to accelerate innovation and improve collisions in ocean research, design, and education. AVAST provides a framework of training, funding, and other resources to build greater capacity for WHOI staff to develop programs and projects that are difficult to do with existing infrastructure. Part of this framework is a physical space where AVAST can foster research collisions and technical collaborations (the AVAST Innovation Hub).

Although AVAST takes its name from "Autonomous Vehicle and Sensor Technologies", these embrace only part of the spectrum of new projects and programs that AVAST supports at WHOI.

How much does it cost to use AVAST?

For most WHOI projects, there is no fee to use AVAST resources beyond consumable costs. In return, WHOI staff and students are expected to contribute to AVAST's wider mission and goals through participation, activities, and collisions. AVAST will work with larger projects or programs that absorb significant AVAST resources to identify appropriate cost-recovery strategies.

What type of projects & programs does AVAST support?

The vision for AVAST is to support a very broad range of ocean research, development, and education. Of particular interest are the types of projects and use cases that WHOI can't support currently with its existing facilities, spaces, and resources. AVAST does not consider technical merit when approving Use Requests.

Core principles for AVAST include the following:

  • Fostering new, innovative, collaborative projects within WHOI that we couldn't otherwise pursue.
  • Supporting a wide range of WHOI users and activities, broadly across the Institution.
  • Disseminating WHOI-grown advances back into WHOI for wider community benefit.
Is AVAST just for research? Can it support education? DE&I?

AVAST has a role in DE&I at WHOI, especially in engineering & technical areas where diversity and inclusion remain low. AVAST also strongly encourages proposals for education & outreach including classes, workshops, seminars, and training. AVAST's social hub space can be configured for many types of use.

Engaging with AVAST

Can businesses or private individuals use AVAST?

Generally, AVAST resources are not available for use other than in WHOI-sponsored research and contracts. AVAST can support any existing WHOI project that involves an industry collaboration in AVAST-appropriate areas. AVAST also can support new WHOI-industry partnerships that are formally approved by WHOI. Companies interested in exploring potential partnerships with WHOI through AVAST should draft a short prospectus and submit it to for consideration.

How can industry connect with WHOI experts?

AVAST is one entry point for industry to connect with expertise at WHOI. Leveraging WHOI expertise for any commercially oriented venture will generally involve an initial dialogue with WHOI's Office of Technology Transfer. Once a relationship is formally recognized, AVAST is able to discuss support for WHOI-industry collaborations.

My company would like to introduce ourselves to WHOI. Can we do this via AVAST?

AVAST is a good venue for companies and other organizations to introduce themselves to WHOI. To start this process, send an email to that describes your organization and explains your interest in visiting WHOI. AVAST will circulate your information within the WHOI community to determine if there's a critical mass of interest.