Dr. Jyotika Virmani is the first Executive Director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing oceanographic research and exploration. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of Planet & Environment at XPRIZE, where she led the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to spur innovations in remote and autonomous, rapid, high-resolution sea floor mapping technologies, which included a Bonus Prize from NOAA for technology that could detect an underwater biological or chemical signal and autonomously track it to its source. Dr. Virmani joined XPRIZE in 2014 as the Technical Director for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a competition for pH sensor development to measure ocean acidification. Before joining XPRIZE, Dr. Virmani was the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, a Senior Scientist at the UK Met Office, and Executive Director of the Florida Coastal Ocean Observing System.
She has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida. As a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from SUNY at Stony Brook. She also has a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College London and is an Associate of the Royal College of Science.