At the European level, the Cluster has established a close cooperation with the two other large European marine institutes, the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (UK) and IFREMER in Brest (France). In addition, the Cluster is part of MENTOR (Marine European Network for Training of Researchers) with the universities of Southampton (UK), Brest (France), Bremen (Germany) and Bergen (Norway).
At the international level outside of Europe, the Cluster has established close ties with the Ocean University of China (OUC) in Qingdao and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. A three-way partnership with OUC and partners in Kiel and Bremen, the Center for Sino-German Cooperation in Marine Sciences (SGMS) was established in 2011.
The Earth Institute of Columbia University (New York) has a similarly broad multi-disciplinary approach to sustainability science, although their focus is not specifically on marine science. Recognizing complementary strengths, the Cluster is enhancing strategic collaboration with the Columbia Earth Institute. Planned activities include an exchange of experts, joint seed money opportunities, and common educational and outreach activities.
A special relationship exists with the Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento das Pescas in Mindelo (Cape Verde Islands), where GEOMAR and the Cluster are building local capabilities to provide support for marine field work in the Tropical Atlantic and at the same time train local technicians and students. In addition, Kiel scientists are providing expert advice to decision makers in Cape Verde on issues of marine policy.