Did you know that oceans absorb more than 25% of the CO2 emitted by human activities, while generating more than half of the oxygen we breathe? They indeed play a major role in stabilizing the Earth’s climate system… but that’s becoming a lot to take in. The more we degrade them, the less they can do to help.

What if we could study marine behaviors to make sound decisions at sea?

What if we could monitor oceanic responses in real time to limit our impacts?

What if we could improve understanding and awareness to make ocean conservation a priority for every generation?

That’s what we are trying to achieve with all the ocean-related projects we support at La Fondation Dassault Systèmes.

Our Mission: Expanding the Boundaries of Education and Research

We leverage the power of virtual experiences to transform learning and discovery, and ultimately stretch the limits of knowledge for the benefit of all.

As a catalyst for innovation, we help women and men who act for a more sustainable world, and a more equal society through their work in the fields of education and research. Beyond funding, we support their journey by harnessing the power of 3D technology and virtual universes, which enable unlimited experimentation, while providing the associated content, skills and expertise, and fostering connections between stakeholders – from schools and universities to scientists, institutions or state organizations. We indeed deeply believe in the power of virtual worlds to foster collective intelligence, stretch the limits of knowledge, and make progress happen.

We are also strongly committed to involve younger generations in scientific and technological fields to stimulate their interest for science and prepare them to be the thinkers, inventors, builders and leaders of tomorrow.

Considering our mission and current climate stakes, oceans are a major transversal concern for us to address. Our conviction is reinforced with the United Nations proclaiming a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in 2021, on top of their Sustainable Development Goals, to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean.

For a few years now, we have been helping our broader ecosystem, especially researchers and students of all ages, to understand, protect and raise awareness about oceans, transforming learning practices along the way. Let’s dive into our commitment to the oceans!

Mission Ocean: Our Flagship Program

Our first project dedicated to the marine realm, Mission Ocean, was designed in 2019 to “ignite a spark” for oceans among middle and high school students, to create interest in related issues and maybe inspire vocations in ocean science, technology and engineering. Through the creation of interactive digital content, students can learn and experience in 3D and VR, while deepening their knowledge in math, physics, chemistry, geography, natural or earth sciences. The program, developed with IFREMER and a broad ecosystem of partners (the French Ministry of EducationONISEP and Réseau Canopé), enables a transversal approach to education that benefits from both industry and research expertise. These new working paths also bring out projects that, in the end, contribute to preserve the oceans.

Learn more about Mission Ocean

Since then, our ecosystem and knowledge in the field of oceans have grown significantly and we are proud to support numerous projects that contribute to their conservation. They mainly aim at preserving biodiversity, developing renewable marine energies, increasing our understanding through exploration, or taking care of oceans with cleaning actions. All of them raising awareness and nurturing research and innovative education content.


Biodiversity: From Non-invasive Monitoring to Species Preservation and Restoration

Understanding and tracking human impacts on biodiversity is the first step toward establishing more sustainable management policies and protecting marine species. It’s also an obvious indicator to apprehend and monitor global climate change. This is why we support several biodiversity-related projects:

  • GhostTAG Indian Ocean Turtles, held by the CNRS LIRMM laboratory of Montpellier, is a research project that seeks to improve sea turtle and pelagic fish electronic beacons so that we can continue to track their population and behaviors without hurting them, namely by reducing drag and vibrations.
  • With Artificial Reefs, the Atlantique Landes Récifs association simulates the influence of the shape and weight of already established artificial reefs on their landfill to minimize burial so they can further contribute to ecological restoration.
  • With 3DCoral, the CNRS-LAAS and Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle – GeoLab are developing a 3D library of corals to identify and understand corals in a more thorough way, while contributing to their preservation through the analysis and 3D simulation of the behavior of coral larvae within underwater nurseries.

Renewable Marine Energy: Bio-Mimicry at the Service of Sustainability

As we said, the ocean is the enhancing mirror of climate change, but it is a source of solutions, and inspiration to answer current challenges.

With Ocean Sciences, we worked with Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle to raise awareness and foster scientific research through the creation of innovative educational activities that aim at understanding ocean dynamics to find new marine energy solutions, protect coastal areas or improve biodiversity. These resulted in the bio-inspired modeling of wind turbine blades, or the design of smart artificial reefs equipped with environmental sensors for temperature or pH monitoring, for example. Students also imagined breakthrough breakwater systems inspired by the geometry of a fish nest, or investigated sustainable offshore windfarm farm scenarios.

Exploration: From Deep-Sea Understanding to Ocean Conservation

Currently, less than 6% of the world’s oceans have been researched. Yet better knowledge of our oceans and especially the deep abyss is the key to learning how to protect them.

  • Our US Foundation is supporting the Olin College of Engineering, in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in their work to create a new generation of deep sea underwater robots with real-time VR tools to explore some of the most remote places on our planet.
  • The IUT Saint-Denis is working on Underwater Robotics, a project that aims at designing new sensors and beacons capable to dive below 2,000 meters to measure bioluminescence and capture all kinds of data.

Cleaning: Removing Waste, From River Flows to Ocean Waves

Although it does not treat the very source of pollution, cleaning is obviously a critical topic to preserve oceans, and it needs to be brought to scale in the coming years.

  • With the Water Waste Removal project, supported by La Fondation in India, students from the Walchand College of Engineering are creating a new floating solid waste collection system for lakes and rivers, to stop waste before they reach the oceans.
  • La Fondation in India is also supporting the Sri Krishna College of Technology in Coimbatore in developing an autonomous vehicle prototype to inspect underwater oil pipes in real time, clean the oil spill and collect it for reuse.

All these projects contribute to raise awareness, advance research and nurture a great amount of educational content around oceans and their stakes.

In this context, we also decided to support the Université de Bretagne Ouest (UBO) and the ISblue consortium with their ImmerSea LAB project to develop the use of 3D, simulation and immersive content, in both a virtual and physical environment, for teaching and research in marine sciences, as well as coastal and marine technologies.

With our support, the Olin College of Engineering in the US is also developing a set of curated, multimodal play-oriented learning experiences that will feature hands-on physical toys paired with alternative media such as videos and 3D models to introduce children aged 3 to 6 to the incredible life of the deep sea.

From children to experts, oceans are the concern of every single person. And we are committed to continuously bring our competencies to connect people, data, ideas and solutions in the virtual world to invent a brighter future for oceans, and for us.