The July 10 editorial “Woods Hole partnership can help diversify Cape economy” brings important attention to the potential for the Cape’s marine-science sector to generate jobs and significant economic growth. However, the number of people employed by this sector on the Cape is actually larger than the figure you cited from the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, with 1,200 employed year-round by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution alone. The research and engineering conducted at the institution has spawned 15 companies with employees of their own, and that number is growing.
It’s also important to note that scientific breakthroughs by research institutions such as Woods Hole and Marine Biological Laboratory not only generate economic development but also provide major benefits to society, such as better predictions of hurricanes and red tides, information and tools to better manage fisheries and our coastal environments in a changing climate, an enhanced ability to respond to events such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and new discoveries in areas such as pharmaceuticals.
Partnerships like that between Marine Biological Laboratory and the University of Chicago are indeed helpful as public funding for research competes with so many other priorities. Partnerships, carefully chosen and nurtured, can help us all stretch scarce investment dollars.