Why Field Research?

Aerials of RVSJ

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Vessel Seward Johnson streams a Waitt Institute for Discovery Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) in the South Pacific.

The Waitt Institute

Ted Waitt believes if we can better understand ourselves and our world, it will become easier for us to embrace what we all share in common and work together to promote a better future. As such, in 2005 he expanded the Waitt Foundation to include a new research arm known as the Waitt Institute.

Serving as an exploration catalyst, the Waitt Institute enables scientific pioneers to transform the ways in which discoveries are made. Collaborating with world-renowned organizations, the Institute pulls together the global expertise needed to accelerate groundbreaking research, exploring everything from the origins of man and the birth of civilization to enduring historical mysteries that have captured our collective imaginations for generations.

From learning who built the ancient pyramids, to charting unexplored areas of the ocean to even knowing what really happened to Amelia Earhart, the Institute has donated more than $18.5 million in grants to support superior field research leading to greater knowledge and appreciation of the human journey.

While complete details about Waitt Foundation field research may be found at Waitt Institute, links to spotlights on some of our key projects may be found below:

Locked in LARS

CATALYST team members prepare to launch the Waitt Institute's Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) during the 2009 search for Amelia Earhart's plane in the South Pacific.


In 2006, with an emerging focus on ocean conservation, the Waitt Institute established the CATALYST Program to accelerate deep-sea exploration, cutting-edge scientific research and sustainable ocean policy. Three expeditions have been conducted so far:

Florida Reef MappingTo create the first-ever high definition side scan sonar maps of the deepwater reefs Lophelia and Oculina in the Florida Straits…

Earhart Expedition To locate Amelia Earhart’s plane in the South Pacific and create the first-ever high definition side scan sonar maps of previously unexplored areas of the ocean floor

Titanic Expedition To conduct a full survey of the wreck site capturing Titanic in 2D and 3D video, creating a first ever archeological site map.


NGS/Waitt Grants Nicaragua Archaeology Project ~ photograph by grantee Alexander Geurds

Other Field Research

Over the years, the Waitt Institute has also partnered with highly respected and well-known science organizations to support historical exploration, research and conservation projects such as:

National Geographic Society

-To fund the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, supporting new fieldwork with the potential for breakthroughs, and …

–To authenticate and preserve the Gospel of Judas, an ancient manuscript thought to be 20 centuries old.

Ancient Egypt Research Associates

To fund and facilitate the Giza Mapping Project of the Giza Plateau, as well as purchase the land needed for the Salvage Archaeological Field School.

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