Dr. Jyotika Virmani has recently been named the new executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. In that capacity she will lead the institute in advancing the field of oceanographic science by continuing to support innovative research and technology development and sharing information about ocean health with the broader community. She will also lead the institute's efforts to scale oceanographic operations, research, and conservation.
Just prior to this appointment, Jyotika served as the executive director of planet and environment at XPRIZE and the Rainforest XPRIZE, a $10 million competition for innovations in biodiversity assessment technologies. She was also executive director of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, which aims to incentivize deep-sea technology to map the ocean floor quickly and accurately at a high resolution. She joined that organization in 2014 as the technical director of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a competition that advanced the development of pH sensors to measure ocean acidification. Prior to that, Jyotika worked as associate director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and a senior scientist at the Met Office, the United Kingdom's national weather service.
Jyotika serves on the Schmidt Marine Technology Partners Advisory Board, American Geophysical Union Centennial Steering Committee, National Ocean Exploration Forum Advisory Council, Catch the Next Wave Planning Committee, and the US Integrated Ocean Observing System Federal Advisory Committee. She has a bachelor's degree in physics from Imperial College London, a master's degree in atmospheric and marine environmental science from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, and a doctorate in physical oceanography from the University of South Florida.
In her spare time, Jyotika produces science fiction short films and writes a humorous and informative tropical storms blog.