The Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute was established in 1972 by the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning in an effort to coordinate mineral-related research in Mississippi. The mission of MMRI remains to provide both the public and private sectors with expertise needed to make responsible decisions regarding Mississippi's and the nation's mineral resources and environmental well-being.
The goals of the MMRI are:
The MMRI seeks to meet these goals by pursuing research projects that address contemporary issues, providing educational and practical training to college students who work on these projects, providing our project results to interested parties in industry, government and academia, and by engaging in community service actities.
The Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology (CMRET) is a research program administered by The Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute at The University of Mississippi, supported by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), Department of Interior. The CMRET was first established in 1987 as one of six national academic research centers of the U.S. Bureau of Mines for the study of marine minerals and related environmental issues. Known originally as The Marine Minerals Technology Center, the name was changed in 1996 after the program was shifted to MMS control, following the decommissioning of the Bureau of Mines. The program mission has remained virtually unchanged since inception. A principal role of the Center is that of a facilitator for the access of academic and industrial expertise throughout the United States and Canada on behalf of the MMS to assist in the conduct of its mission. In addition, the CMRET provides direct access to in-house expertise in areas of geophysics and geotechnical systems design, development, and operation on projects of interest to the MMS. A current example is the Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium, served by the CMRET as program manager, and the Consortium's main program, the Gas Hydrates Monitoring Station, where the CMRET serves as a facilitator and also as a provider of innovative geophysical and geotechnical systems and services.
The mission of the Seabed Technology Research Center (STRC) is to investigate seafloor dynamics through technological advances in surveying and observing systems. STRC is a key contributor to the Seafloor Observatory in the Gulf of Mexico primarily through the development of new sensors and platforms. The center has developed its own Remotely Operated Vehicle that is specifically designed to operate from smaller, more economical research vessels. STRC is a core division of the National Institute of Undersea Science and Technology and works closely with the other divisions, especially the Underwater Vehicle Technology Center.
The University of Mississippi Geoinformatics Center (UMGC) is a multi-disciplinary research center conducting research in Geospatial Information Science and Technology (GIS&T). The UMGC has conducted research with faculty and graduate students from the various departments including: Biology, Computer and Information Science, Geology and Geological Engineering, Sociology and Anthropology, School of Business, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. UMGC strives to improve the understanding, usage and access to geo-spatial information for all areas of interest by conducting and disseminating research in GIS&T and remote sensing.
The Terrestrial Program represents a set of research and outreach that focuses on the onshore of Mississippi as well as its coastal waters. This program, for example, includes geological mapping, earthquake studies, natural hazard mitigation studies, mineral resource studies, as well as environmental studies that relate to mineral utilization. The Ridgway Data Center is dedicated to assisting the hydrocarbon industry. Support of Mississippi’s colleges and universities, technology transfer and support of Mississippi’s mining industry are, in part, the responsibilities of the Terrestrial Program. Open-file reports and investigation results are available to the public as digital and paper copy, upon request.
The Marine Mapping Center at MMRI builds on existing strengths from STRC, UMGC and is in cooperation with the Undersea Vehicles Technology Center program in NIUST. This center will integrate the mapping capabilities that exist in NIUST and MMRI within a Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) framework to provide mapping and analyses in the marine environment from the ocean surface to the seafloor and into the subsurface. The center will work cooperatively to;
Mapping center personnel will be involved with all science missions to expand and enhance the mapping capabilities of all programs and integrate all science data gathered during the upcoming research missions into a comprehensive geospatial framework for mapping and analysis. All of the missions proposed below will include CMSP support to ensure that all data is able to be integrated into comprehensive geospatial database that will enable better mapping, analysis and incorporation of additional data.
The Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium (GoMHRC) was organized in 1999 with the goal of establishing a hydrates monitoring station on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico. The GoMHRC is managed and coordinated by the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology (CMRET). The CMRET manages and coordinates research by consortium members at the observatory site at Mississippi Canyon block 118 (MC118). The MMRI hosts an annual consortium meeting at which funded consortium members present the results of their research. Membership in the GoMHRC is open to all interested universities, agencies and private companies.
The National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST) was established in 2002 by the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi in partnership with NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP) to develop and apply new technologies that enhance undersea research. NIUST is made up of three divisions: the Ocean Biotechnology Center & Repository (OBCR), the Seabed Technology Research Center (STRC), and the Undersea Vehicles Technology Center (UVTC) which broadly encompass the fields of biotechnology (e.g., biomedical and agrochemical products) and engineered technologies (e.g., instrumentation development) in the marine environment. NIUST is providing cutting edge technologies to NURP and their constituencies to further the nation's research capabilities in nearshore, deep water, and extreme marine environments. Program objectives are focused on exploration, research, and advanced technology development.