The Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences was established in 1969, through a joint action of the University of South Carolina and the Belle W. Baruch Foundation. Located within the College of Arts & Sciences School of Earth, Ocean and Environment, the institute houses a comprehensive estuarine and coastal research program.
The institute has facilities on the university’s main campus in Columbia, a Charleston-based research laboratory in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and a field laboratory located on Hobcaw Barony, near Georgetown, SC.
The research focus of the institute is estuarine and coastal sciences, which includes biological, chemical, geological, physical and hydrological processes. Vernberg Fellowships are available for USC graduate students conducting marine research within the Institute. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to take a Maymester or Summer I course providing hands-on experience at the field laboratory at Hobcaw.
The Baruch Institute also hosts the North-Inlet Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NI-WB NERR), headquartered at the field laboratory in Georgetown. This reserve was instrumental in the recent designation of Georgetown County as a U.N. Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. This is the only centre on the east coast.