Transatlantic collaboration: MI signs MOU with Norwegian university's department of marine technology

Mar 24th, 2022

By Moira Baird

Construction of the Dr. Arthur W. May building at The Launch in Holyrood is scheduled for completion in September. Photo by Angie Bishop.
Transatlantic collaboration: MI signs MOU with Norwegian university's department of marine technology

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed March 21 between the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University and the Department of Marine Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The goal is to work together in applying new marine technologies for remote operations and autonomous vehicles.

“Our collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is very important to our students, researchers and industry partners as we enhance and continue to explore the world of autonomous marine vehicles and remote operations,” said Dr. Rob Shea, vice-president of Memorial University (Marine Institute). “The MOU provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with NTNU and bring together two world-leading universities to shape the future of ocean exploration.”

The signing took place during a virtual event with representatives from both institutions in Trondheim, Norway, and St. John’s and Holyrood.

Both sides will share best practices and explore collaborative opportunities in applied research and development in ocean technologies; remote operations; educational exchanges for students, faculty and staff; partnerships with industry; and leveraging financial support to advance mutual objectives.

Virtual workshops

“We are very happy to formalize our excellent relations with such a very capable, practical organization as the Fisheries and Marine Institute,” said Prof. Sverre Steen, head, Department of Marine Technology, NTNU. “I think our institutions have many joint interests, and I look forward to strengthening the collaboration in the time to come.”

One of the first collaborative activities will be a series of graduate student seminars later this spring, enabling students to make transatlantic connections and present research to their peers.

Plans are also underway for researchers and technical personnel to hold a virtual workshop to identify potential collaborative opportunities in remote operations, autonomous technology and human factors in ocean safety.

World-leading centre

Both sides will work together through their research units and facilities, including the Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU AMOS) and The Launch at the Marine Institute.

“Autonomous and unmanned subsea operations are increasingly important for safe and cost-efficient offshore operations with a low carbon dioxide footprint in oil and gas, renewables, aquaculture and marine science,” said Prof. Asgeir J. Sørensen, head of the Centre of Excellence NTNU AMOS, and professor at Department of Marine Technology. “Research, education and innovation in these areas are closely linked to actual operations and support from industrial partners.”

NTNU AMOS is a world-leading centre for research to develop intelligent ships and ocean structures, autonomous marine vehicles and robots for high-precision and safety-critical operations for harsh environments.

Its partners include Det Norske Veritas, SINTEF Ocean and the Norwegian Research Council.

The Launch expansion

The Launch is the Marine Institute’s cold ocean innovation centre and Memorial University’s portal to the ocean, designed as a “one-stop shop” to support a comprehensive approach to ocean research and development through access to a suite of vessels, technology, technical expertise and collaborative partnerships to advance new technologies, approaches and practices.

“Following introductions with our colleagues at NTNU, we immediately recognized the synergies between our institutions and our ocean economies,” said Paul Brett, associate vice-president, research and strategic partnerships, MI. “With connections to energy, fisheries, marine transportation and aquaculture, we realized very quickly there would be many opportunities to work together. This MOU is really just the beginning of what will be a strong relationship on many levels.”

The ongoing expansion at The Launch includes the further development of MI’s subsea centre of excellence supported by more than $1.3 million from the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Assistance Fund that will provide a controlled environment for technology development, mission planning and demonstration of remote operations capabilities.

Moira Baird is the public relations and communications officer with the Marine Institute. She can be reached at