Blue Institute is dedicated to education and research for resilient oceans & water


Creating Clean Water 

& Climate Solutions

 while developing the Next Generation of 

Water-Thought Leaders

STEAM event - Seaweed Art with Professor Newton


Our Clean Water & Climate Change Story


The Next Generation

At the end of the day - it's all about their future.  


Social Impact Education, Research, & Community

We aim to help educate young people to be the next generation of water thought leaders for their communities and the wider world. That could be as simple (and important) as serving on a local water resource committee, or exploring the burgeoning opportunities and career pathways in the water, marine and blue tech infrastructure and innovation sectors. 

As a research center we will offer rotating topics of interest to bring researchers and practitioners together for a semester at a time from academia, industry and government to take a deep dive into collaborative working solutions - because we believe strongly in "innovation through collaboration."


Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Participating in the 2017 CleanTechOpen Accelorator convinced us to pull the innovation pillar out of the non-profit business model, and set up a separate legal entity, Blue Institute Labs, PBC called the Blue Incubator - which is a Public Benefit Corporation committing 10% of its profits towards scholarships & fellowships at the Blue Institute at Cape Cod Bay.The Blue Innovation Center, a vision that co-locates the two entitities, supports regional and global economic development, research, entrepreneurship and commercialization in water security, aquaculture, BlueTech, and marine technology. 

The Blue Innovation Center will be the first oceanfront "Blue Tech", aquaculture and water security hub on the US Eastern Seaboard!

Our Offerings




Our unique water-centric undergraduate “semester away” program - the first cohort in 2020-2021  - will be comprised of hands on experiential learning drawing from cross-disciplinary fields integrating science, art, policy, engineering, humanities, economics, and technology.  The program will introduce students to the rapidly growing opportunities in the “blue economy" & to also create a generation of “water knowledge ambassadors" to better serve the world. Introductory level, advanced and graduate courses will be available.




Research residencies will be open to scientists, graduate students and advanced undergraduates completing capstone projects. Students will have access to BlueTech and water security innovation incubator, fresh and salt water testing sites, and the area marine environments. The Institute supports sustainable water & ocean research which will bring together private and public sector projects, and  research scientists in a unique academic and environmental ecosystem fostering collaborative exchanges, blue cluster development, and an innovative ecosystem.



Community engagement offerings on water and climate change cover many disciplines such as the Seaweed & Algae panel, local authors community writing workshops, and "Words on Water" writing competition for World Oceans Day, community science panels, Women on Water lecture series H20 STEM Community Conference.  K-12 special curriculum events for children, and educational support for teachers through hands-on research focused workshops are being developed. In planning are cross-generational collaborations through classroom and onsite experiential learning incorporating schools, community, and senior citizen area programs.  


A Short History


The Blue Institute at Cape Cod Bay, a non-profit 501 (C)(3), was started in the summer of 2015 by Judith Underwood who in doing program research for the local community college, had identified gaps in clean water & climate change collaboration amongst academia, industry and government agencies. These gaps stifled innovation and constricted pipelines for education, research, workforce opportunities, economic development and solving community environmental challenges. The early vision was to create a satellite mini campus on Cape Cod for the University of Massachusetts with a specific focus on collaborative solutions to the clean water and climate change issues facing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as most global communities. Research, interviews and design concepts ensued with much of the program design premise stemming from the structure and goals of two Institutions Judith had worked at: The International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy; and the Seminar XXI Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Bringing scientific and thought leadership together to address topics of interest and challenges and getting professionals out of their "silos" to collaboratively study and research topics and issues through an inter-disciplinary lens - adding into the mix students and startups. 

A second aspect of the original design was as a year-round economic development opportunity for Cape Cod whose economy is seasonally based on tourism. The campus design of 250+ visitors per semester calls for 40-70 full-time year-round jobs. The conceptual idea was accepted into the Entrepreneurship for All ( South Coast Summer 2016. Through this social impact business accelerator, the Blue Institute was incorporated as a non-profit separately from the UMass system allowing for a working partnership with the University to provide the credits for the “Blue semester away” program. Through the EforAll program the Blue Institute business plan evolved into four key pillars: education, research, community engagement, and innovation.

In the Spring of 2017, the Blue Institute was accepted into the prestigious Cleantech Open (CTO), the country’s oldest and largest national cleantech accelerator. The CTO judges unanimously supported the application - a rarity - the "getting researchers, practitioners, and educators out of their silos" to collaborate on clean water & climate change solutions" was a big draw, as was the alarming national and global news items on the state of drinking water and our oceans! Blue Institute Teammate and fellow Cape Codder Lois Andre brought her “A Game” to our development connecting more key stakeholders and helping the Blue Institute gain significant ground - particularly through encouraging Robert "Bob" Ciolek, the former COO for the City of Boston & the then head of the Boston Water & Sewer Commission to come onto the founding Board of Directors. The CleanTech Open experience brought the eyes of CleanTech investors from across the country curious to explore investing in water security, aquaculture, and BlueTech. The CTO experience also produced several surveys and myriad of significant interviews. Our research strongly indicated that a standalone non-profit incubation and commercialization program had enormous economic sustainability challenges if it was not identified with and supported directly by a university, institute or government agency. To address these two research findings the innovation pillar was pulled out of the four-pillar non-profit business plan in November 2017, and was established as a public benefit corporation, the Blue Institute labs, PBC called the “Blue Incubator.” Ten percent of profits are dedicated to the Blue Institute at Cape Cod Bay for scholarships and fellowships supporting the goals of a Blue Cluster. 

In the fall of 2017 the Blue Institute hosted its first H20 STEM Community Conference bringing together students and area "blue" organizations and three distinguished speakers: EPA Region One Interim Administrator, Dr. Deborah Szaro on, "Career Paths and STEM;" IBM's Global Cognitive Solutions Leader Michael Sullivan on Watson, "IoT and Water;" and Dr. Yuki Alysson Honjo, the Chief Operating Officer of McLane Research Laboratories, Inc. on, "Marine Research, Technology, and Entrepreneurship." Later that winter a generous individual funded an independent feasibility study on the build out of a brick and mortar campus and the economic sustainability of our business model - to a positive conclusion. In June of 2018 we held our first World Oceans Day event in at the Harwich Cultural Center over three days allowing for "walking field trips" for 125 kindergarteners learning about the water cycle through science, song, drawing, and stories. Community trips were also arranged to tour area water resources such as the Harwich shellfish laboratory, the Chatham wastewater facility, and the Harwich water department. Our second World Oceans Day event in 2019 saw the origination of our "Word on Water," writing competition exploring the writer's relationship with water through poetry, prose and playwriting. In October 2019 a special evening of readings was arranged at the historic South Harwich Meetinghouse. This event was followed the next day by our dynamic Community Lecture Series three-person panel on Seaweed & Algae: Everything You Wanted to Know but were Afraid to Ask. 

Hundreds of individuals and organizations have provided wisdom, best practices, and wide support for the Blue Institute's mission and vision.  Indeed we have received interest in our “Blue Semester Away”  program from over 100 universities and colleges across the US and Canada. Currently our first pilot cohort is in planning for the 2020-2021 academic year. We are also currently planning a four-day multidisciplinary festival celebrating 2020 World Oceans Day - Cape Cod (June 4-8th) is in planning - with a December 17, 2019 "Call for Submissions" for the 2020 "Words on Water" writing competition.  There are many opportunities to volunteer - we would love your help - please join us!

Learn More

We are always pleased to discuss our mission, vision, sponsorships and partnerships. Please reach out with any questions, comments, or advice.

What You Can Do!

Get Involved

 Are you passionate about what we're doing? Are you ready to dig in? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team! 

Summer 2020 Cape Cod & Plymouth


Join us next summer on Cape Cod to learn more about the water all around us  & in Plymouth to explore STEM related BlueTech and underwater robots. Email us for info:

Thank You


Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time with us, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We accomplish our goals with the help of supporters like you.  

Donate Here - Thank you 

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