One of the Caribbean’s leading marine research centers is expanding.
The United States’ The National Science Foundation has provided a facilities grant to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s research center in Little Cayman.
The funding is expected to improve operations capacity and the overall outputs of the research center.
Both the NSF and CCMI seek to foster the integration of science and education to improve STEM studies through science education, internships and fellowships.
The NSF grant will enable CCMI to create additional on-site private accommodations for scientists and graduate students; expand common areas including the kitchen, dining pavilion and bathhouse to match the residential capacity; and make safety upgrades to reduce the risk of damage in the event of a hurricane.
“One example of how these renovations will positively impact our operations is that we expect these improvements will add up to two hours a day of field, lab and classwork through streamlining the capacity to serve meals and accommodate more people on site,” said CCMI president Dr. Carrie Manfrino.
“This will help support our goal of developing early-career scientists and foster the pursuit of scientific discovery that culminates in present and future generations of active environmental stewards,” Manfrino said.
Another important element of the upgrade project is to demonstrate that alternatives such as passive and PV solar systems can replace conventional, resource-intensive facilities.
Since it was built in 2005, CCMI has provided hundreds of scientists and students with field support, accommodations and access to laboratories and workspace.
The Institute has continued to expand its programming, most recently with the introduction of a citizen science program and a “Dive With Heroes” program aimed at disabled U.S. veterans.