West to east: Developing a national network in shipbuilding and marine research
The National Network for Innovative Shipbuilding and Marine Research and Training (iSMART) workshops will take place at the University of British Columbia this July and at Memorial University in September.
The main goal of the iSMART workshops is to create a formalized national network of excellence in innovative shipbuilding, marine research and training.
The workshops have been designed to encourage collaborative and innovative research among stakeholders from Canadian universities and colleges, research institutions, government agencies and the private sector to identify needs, capabilities and gaps in shipbuilding and marine technology and research.
Dr. Wei Qiu, head of ocean and naval architectural engineering at Memorial University and lead of this initiative, is excited about the new opportunity for collaboration and guidance on establishing a national network.
“These events will identify the needs of the Canadian marine community in innovative technology development,” he said. “Also, the network will seek ways to enhance the education and training of highly qualified personnel to better serve the marine industry and support Canadian competitiveness on the global stage.”
The Vancouver workshop will highlight the research needs and priorities of industry as well as national research experience and capacity. It will also identify opportunities, challenges and gaps in the Canadian shipbuilding and marine industry with respect to research and training, and develop long-term strategies. The result will be the formulation of a plan outlining the road towards the development of a national strategic partnership in innovative shipbuilding and marine research and training.
“Being a maritime region, it is vital that the Canadian marine industry, academia and governments work together to establish research and educational priorities to ensure that we can successfully face the challenges of the 21st century,” said Prof. Jon Mikkelsen, co-director of naval architecture and marine engineering at the University of British Columbia and the host of the Vancouver workshop.
The St. John’s workshop will provide an overview of the Vancouver sessions, as well as finalize the network structure, develop research themes and leads, identify program and funding opportunities and determine action items and next steps.
“The potential for new research partnerships with the involvement of industry, government and academia is significant,” said Dr. Qiu. “These short- and long-term industry-academic partnerships will lead to the development of highly qualified personnel who are prepared for careers in shipbuilding and marine fields. Opportunities to expand the relationship between industry and academia will also be examined through various Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) programs.”
The workshops are financially sponsored by NSERC, Memorial University and the University of British Columbia, and supported by the Government of Canada, VARD Marine, Defence Research and Development Canada and Genoa Design International.