Jim Bellingham

James Bellingham

Executive Director


Jim Bellingham, a pioneer in the worldwide autonomous marine robotics field who has led research expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic, is executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy in Baltimore, MD.

For more than 30 years, Bellingham has been a global l​eader in the development of small, high-performance autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), resulting in a class of systems that are now widely used within the military, industry and science communities. He has been instrumental in innovations for ocean observing and has spent considerable time at sea, leading two dozen AUV expeditions in locations across the Antarctic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, South Pacific, and Arctic.

Bellingham concurrently serves as a research professor in the Whiting School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and as a senior advisor ​in APL’s Asymmetric Operations Sector, where he’ll help advance government and defense innovations for national security.

He joined Johns Hopkins from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) where he was founding Director of the Consortium for Marine Robotics since 2014. There, he led a range of initiatives to advance robotics innovations working with regional, national and global partners; these included creating the DunkWorks advanced design and prototyping center, revitalizing the Pressure Test Facility, and initiating the Arctic Long-Range AUV program focused on oil-spill response.

Under his direction, the Consortium organized a range of high-impact initiatives including the Ocean Worlds Catalyst Program, which teams with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop the science and technology for exploring oceans on other worlds, and the successful Marine Robotics Entrepreneurship Forum that fostered a range of programs including US Department of Energy-funded aquaculture activities.

Bellingham previously held leadership roles at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute that deployed fleets of AUVs to observe and predict ocean conditions, as well as at the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Laboratory at MIT Sea Grant, and Bluefin Robotics, a maker of AUVs.

Bellingham serves on a number of institutional boards and advisory boards including Science Robotics, American Association for the Advancement of Science; the Naval Studies Board, National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine; OceanX, Dalio Philanthropies; the Institute of Marine Research, Norway; and MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Germany. He has served on the Naval Research Advisory Committee including as chair, and on Secretary of the Navy Advisory Panel and several National Academies studies.

His honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering (induction October 2021), the Navy Superior Public Service Award, and the Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science and Engineering.

Bellingham has authored dozens of scholarly papers. He received a B.S., an M.S., and a Ph.D., in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.