Regional Class Research Vessels: Modern Ships for Ocean Science

  • Client:
    Oregon State University (OSU)
  • Collaborator:
    National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification, Research Vessels
  • Service Categories:
    Shipyard Production Support
    Owner Services & Onsite Support
  • Vessel Overview:
    Three state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary Regional Class Research Vessels
  • Challenge:
    Provide the contract design and construction support for three new research vessels.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) selected Oregon State University (OSU) to lead the design and acquisition of three Regional Class Research Vessels (RCRVs). The vessels will be operated by OSU, University of Rhode Island/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and University of Southern Mississippi/LUMCON and used for multidisciplinary research and marine environmental education. OSU solicited broad stakeholder input to ensure that the vessels would meet their operators’ needs, resulting in an adaptable, robust class design.

Glosten was brought on board to develop the contract design for the RCRVs and provide support throughout their construction. Our engineering team worked with project stakeholders through design trade-off studies, cost benefit analyses, frequent meetings, and formal presentations to deliver an airtight final design. Glosten has assisted OSU in providing oversight during construction as the shipyard progresses the design, and steps in to provide production design support as needed.

Photo courtesy of OSU


As a class, the RCRVs will be available to supply researchers with real-time data from a wide array of scientific missions in a changing coastal environment. By increasing mission flexibility, the Regional Class will serve a broad range of users and will be ideal platforms for science, education, and training. The RCRVs will be equipped with advanced sensors and ocean instrumentation, sample collection systems, integrated mid and shallow-water acoustic multibeam bottom mapping, and a large aft deck for multidisciplinary operations. Through datapresence capabilities and satellite communications, the RCRVs will bring science at sea to classrooms, the public, and researchers ashore.

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The team has been outstanding to work with. I truly believe that these ships will be the world’s greatest research ships under 200 feet. I’m very happy to be working with Glosten to bring these vessels from paper to reality.”

– Demian Bailey, Project Manager, Oregon State University