With the support and assistance of the Commonwealth Secretary of Commerce and Trade, William and Mary established the VIMS-Industry Partnership Committee in December 2003 to advise the Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) on the development of long-term partnerships with industry and steps to improve collaborative research and technology transfer. The Committee has included some 20 VIMS participants, 10 representatives from the main William and Mary campus, some 30 industry participants from over 20 companies, the Gloucester County Director of Economic Development, and representatives from the Hampton Roads Research Partnership, NASA and the Office of Naval Research.
The partnership has focused on marine sensors (particularly anti-body based chemical sensors), the deployment of observation platforms in the Chesapeake Bay, autonomous underwater vehicles, modeling and simulation of storm surges, and the Chesapeake Bay algae project (ChAP) which is researching the growth of algae on substrates in marine environments and conversion into fuels. The partners have collaborated in SBIRS, federal contracts, and numerous grants from state and federal agencies Some partners have made gifts of equipment to VIMS to advance research. Partners in the ChAP project have received $1 million in research funding from Statoil, Norway's leading energy company.
During quarterly meetings, partners brief each other on their major research interests. Partners then pursue collaborative discussions in smaller groups focused on specific proposals.