The Virginia Coastal Resilience Collaborative (VCRC) is a cross-university initiative that expands existing William & Mary and Virginia Institute of Marine Science programs addressing water resources and ecosystems as well as coastal resilience. A signature initiative of W&M’s strategic plan Vision 2026, the collaborative offers a centralized, university-wide approach to coastal resilience research, scholarship, education and advisory work. It harnesses broad expertise to serve partners in our region — communities, state and federal agencies, other universities and industry — with actionable research, training programs, advisory and consulting services designed for current and future needs.
By centralizing efforts at a senior leadership level, the collaborative ensures efficiency in W&M and
VIMS’s partnerships in coastal resilience. Via internal and external collaborations, the initiative broadens disciplinary expertise supporting decision makers to plan for, mitigate and adapt to global change impacts — including ecological, design/engineering, societal, legal and economic — in coastal Virginia, the nation and world.
Led by assistant provost for coastal resilience and director of the VCRC Thomas K. Ruppert, the collaborative increases the visibility and impact of existing programs at W&M and VIMS. Central oversight and dedicated university resources expand capacity, leveraging external funding opportunities. This approach enables W&M and VIMS to develop and implement timely, real-world solutions — and legal scholarship and policy advice — related to challenges posed by global and climate change impacts and imperiled water quality, thereby increasing the value to the Commonwealth and its communities. Ruppert's leadership will be supported by a policy analyst, who will provide legal scholarship, policy advice and science translation for legislators and leaders on state- and national-level issues, and clerical support with a communications function.
William & Mary has invested $500,000 for the base operating budget, starting FY24, reallocating
ongoing and new state, federal and philanthropic resources. Realizing the “Water” pillar of Vision 2026, the collaborative addresses expanding needs for high-quality research, educational and advisory services in the Commonwealth and nation.