The van Beuren Charitable Foundation Awards $3 Million to URI

Funds to develop blue economy research and infrastructure at Narragansett Bay Campus

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 13, 2023 – The van Beuren Charitable Foundation has generously awarded the University of Rhode Island a $3 million grant to support the development of a new Ocean Engineering Complex on the URI Narragansett Bay Campus (NBC) that will propel the development of the region’s blue economy.

The funding complements the 2022 state bond that approved $100 million to dramatically transform the NBC and modernize its facilities.

“We deeply appreciate the support of the van Beuren Charitable Foundation,” said Anthony Marchese, dean of the URI College of Engineering. “We are honored they recognize our global reputation for ocean engineering research, education and workforce development and understand how our interdisciplinary partnerships with URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, as well as our partnerships with industry, can be leveraged to develop technologies and programs that service the blue economy. Better facilities will accelerate these efforts.”  

The University has developed a campus master plan for building upgrades and new construction. The Ocean Engineering Complex figures prominently in the master plan and will replace two structures that are outmoded and generally substandard. The complex includes an ocean engineering education and research center with offices, laboratories, and classrooms, and the wave and acoustics laboratory with a large wave and tow tank, an acoustics tank, and state-of-the-art equipment.”

“Our world-class faculty and students have been driving blue economy innovation for decades with sub-par facilities,” said Marc Parlange, president of URI. The expanded opportunities for knowledge creation and workforce development in these new facilities will undoubtedly yield a major return on the investments by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Rhode Island taxpayers.”

The blue economy spans several sub-industries, including ports and shipping, defense, marine trades, ocean-based renewables, aquaculture and fisheries, and tourism and recreation. URI is a leader in the sector and serves a key role in workforce development, research, community outreach, and stakeholder engagement.