The Institute is interested in expanding partnerships with academic institutions and for-profit enterprises on sponsored research activities. Additionally, we encourage participation from interested students and volunteers. Our research partners gain access to a network of innovative groups and individual experts/entrepreneurs working on related issues.
The mission of seasteading entails a different set of challenges than temporary ocean dwelling for the purpose of drilling, mining, transportation, etc., and accordingly, it requires a novel set of solutions. Not all of the obstacles fit into neat boxes, but we’ve identified three main categories for research: engineering, business, and law & policy.
We are particularly interested in advancing bold visions outside of traditional offshore activities. There are many sub-topics within each of these categories, and suggested areas for future research can be found within the main pages. Our previous research is the best source for inspiration and potential new directions, but we are open to outside-the-box proposals, as long as they are pragmatic. Special consideration is given to projects that show a clear, incremental path to a grander vision. Grant money may be available for exceptional proposals, and special opportunities are available for highly motivated student volunteer researchers and interns.
How do we engineer seasteads to meet the unique needs of permanent inhabitants?
What legal or geographical considerations give rise to unique business opportunities?
What are potential barriers to entry for new countries on the ocean?
Engineers are accustomed to thinking in terms of how to best meet a set of defined requirements and specifications. For seasteads, these requirements are still being defined. Our engineering research must balance solutions for today’s business ventures with a vision of tomorrow’s possibilities.
One of our research priorities is identifying the best onboard businesses to provide jobs for seastead residents, as well as the best ocean-based exports to trade for the numerous specialized imports seasteads will need from land. This requires us to investigate viable business models that take advantage of seasteads’ numerous unique features.
Seasteads will soon define a new sphere of governance in the only remaining unclaimed surface on earth, but existing governments will continue set the stage for at least some time to come. Establishing legitimacy will be critical for early seasteads, as they navigate overlapping or poorly defined jurisdictions, obscure legalese of international conventions, and other potential barriers to entry.
The dawning of a Blue Revolution in ocean farming technology would launch seasteads to center stage; our emphasis on sustainable solutions to engineering, legal and business solutions makes The Seasteading Institute a natural focal point for the pioneers of aquaculture. Ocean Algae for Seastead Integrated Solutions envisions a future landscape populated by seastead “oases,” and is taking the first steps toward enabling them.
Seasteading opens up a number of new possibilities for sustainable patterns of specialization and trade. These potential new business models are accompanied by unusual demands and costs, narrowing the number of viable proposals. A good overview of these advantages and demands can be found on our Sink or Swim Contest page; projects should be structured similarly to the winning proposals, although we encourage exploration of brand new ideas. Additionally, you can find general guides to writing business plans on the Internet.
Certain challenges are better answered with step-by-step instructions on how to achieve a particular goal. These “how-to-guides” will help investors and entrepreneurs navigate particular process, such as installing security systems, registering vessels under a particular flag, or establishing a data link to land. Guides should contain an introduction similar to a research paper, along with any key background information, but should mainly focus on listing concrete actions that are required to solve the problem.
Technology briefs should be structured to illuminate the potential applications of a certain technology to seasteading. Topics covering data transmission, dynamic positioning, alternative energy and wave-motion reduction are particularly well-suited for being formatting as technology briefs. A technology brief should provide information on existing firms/products, the trajectory of costs and capabilities of the technology in question (i.e., is this technology likely to become much better or cheaper in the near future or has it been relatively stable over time?) and possible modifications of the technology to tailor it to the needs of seasteads.