NOAA's Undersea Research Center at UNCW
NOAA first established an undersea research program, the Manned Undersea Science and Technology office, in 1970. A decade later, the National Research Council reviewed the program and supported formation of a "National Underwater Laboratory System"- the precursor to NURP. The council considered that "the strong management point in the NULS component is the clear commitment to operation by academic institutions," and cited several reasons that NURP be based at regional host institutions. In particular, different approaches and technologies are required to study the variety of regional marine environments, resources, and issues.
NURC/UNCW was one of the original NURP regional centers, established in 1981, based on a peer-reviewed competition with other institutions around the southeast United States. The center is hosted by UNCW's Center for Marine Science in Wilmington, North Carolina, and also maintains a field station and research program based in Key Largo, Florida.