Bigelow Laboratory appoints new vice president for research

Thu, 04/27/2023 - 1:30pm

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay announced April 27 that Dr. Beth Orcutt was selected to be its new vice president for research, following a nationwide search.

“In addition to being a globally-recognized leader in her field, she is also deeply passionate about both our organization and our mission to study the foundation of global ocean health and unlock its potential,” said Deborah Bronk, president and CEO. “We are thrilled to have her lead our research efforts.”

As a scientist focused on the microscopic life on and below the seafloor, Orcutt has joined over 30 expeditions and spent more than 600 days at sea – traveling miles beneath its surface. As vice president for research, she will shepherd Bigelow Laboratory’s research around the world to understand the ocean and develop solutions.

”In my opinion, Bigelow Laboratory is the best place in the nation, and perhaps the world, for impactful, scientist-driven research on the foundations of the ocean,” Orcutt said. “I am thrilled to get the opportunity to help our scientific community continue to do bold science for our blue planet in new and extraordinary ways.”

Orcutt joined Bigelow Laboratory as a senior research scientist in 2012 and is already familiar with her new role, having served as interim vice president over the last nine months. She has over a decade of leadership experience directing diverse and international teams of scientists and students in the exploration of the deep sea. Recently she was one of the few scientists in the world to attend the International Seabed Authority’s council meeting in Jamaica, ensuring that science plays a central role in forthcoming deep-sea mining regulations.

The coming year will represent a transition for Orcutt, as she more fully engages with the vice president role, but she will continue her international leadership to inform science-based decisions on emerging human uses of the seafloor.

"We need excellent science to understand this planet and how our society impacts it, but that alone is not enough," Orcutt said. "Bigelow Laboratory has a long history of turning our discoveries into solutions and into data that equips global leaders to make science-based decisions, and I'm excited to support and strengthen that vital work."