UMass Boston

UMass Boston Partners with SeaAhead to Boost Bluetech Innovation

01/27/2020| Office of Communications

Agreement Aimed at Globally Advancing Ocean Sustainability

Real-time water quality buoys
Real-time water quality buoys
Image By: Bob Chen

“ The university’s expertise and assets are a critical part of the bluetech cluster narrative for Greater Boston. ”

The University of Massachusetts Boston and SeaAhead, Inc. have formed a partnership to improve research and commercial ventures promoting ocean sustainability. Together they plan to catalyze a New England bluetech “cluster” by fostering venture-based innovation.

UMass Boston's extensive ocean-related research will work with SeaAhead's innovation community to create opportunities for new research, job opportunities for students, and a higher utilization of UMass Boston assets.  Ocean startups will benefit through streamlined access to the mentorship, specialized labs, equipment, tools, and space necessary to build transformative companies. Through this relationship, bluetech startups can more easily leverage the Massachusetts Innovation Voucher program to support external validation of their technology. SeaAhead will also work with UMass Boston to facilitate partnerships with willing researchers from other UMass campuses, which could open access to over 90 collections of advanced instruments across the five-campus system to support bluetech innovation.

UMass Boston clusters are groups of private sector firms and nonprofit organizations that share a common labor market.  The university inaugurated the cluster model to build more effective bridges between the city’s only public research university and the most vibrant businesses in the region.  As it will with SeaAhead, clusters take the form of ongoing discussions on industry labor needs, fine tuning relevant educational pathways within the university, and outcomes that express the intersection: internships, summer jobs, entry level positions, mentorship engagement of industry leaders, and research collaborations.

“UMass Boston is ideally positioned to be a thought leader and contributor, alongside our new partner SeaAhead, in advancing ocean sustainability through advanced research and the creation of a well-educated and highly diverse bluetech workforce,” Newman noted.  “As we expand our footprint in harbor conservation, aquaculture, and many other bluetech domains, we will be able to inject a well-educated, diverse workforce into this growing field.”

“We are excited to begin formally working with UMass Boston in our support of bluetech venture development. The university’s expertise and assets are a critical part of the bluetech cluster narrative for Greater Boston,” said SeaAhead Co-founder and Managing Director, Mark Huang.


SeaAhead opened its Bluetech Innovation Hub at CIC Boston in 2019, the first ocean-focused co-working space in the city. It acts as a connection point for entrepreneurs, investors, industry and academia. SeaAhead is building new programs to support bluetech innovation, including a Venture Fellows program with the New England Aquarium and the Blue Angels Investment Group, which will invest in seed-stage ventures.

Research interests across the UMass system that could be relevant to SeaAhead's community of bluetech ventures includes "smart" sensor networks, sustainable seafood (including fisheries management), green harbors, offshore renewables, coastal resilience, and ocean-centric approaches to changing environmental conditions, extreme weather events, and high tidal cycles that lead to coastal flooding.

Surface treatments of green seawalls

Additionally, UMass Boston will provide access to a diverse student workforce pipeline that spans the natural and social sciences as well as key management and educational disciplines.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American coastal city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

About SeaAhead
SeaAhead is a benefit corporation, founded in Boston, with the mission of supporting venture innovation for the ocean. We are creating a bluetech startup platform, helping to build companies, run an incubator, facilitate investments and catalyze a bluetech cluster in the Northeast. Our ecosystem includes technologists, scientists, startups, corporations, governments and other ocean stakeholders that are coming together to create impact in areas including greener shipping and ports, aquaculture and fishery processes, offshore alternative energy and smart cities. SeaAhead’s bluetech mandate also includes scalable solutions to ocean debris and ocean-centric approaches to the challenges of climate change. More information at or on Twitter @SeaAhead.