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Solent's Intelligent Ship Centre (IGNITE) project is one of 11 projects to be awarded £1.5m in total, as part of the Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Call.

16th July 2020
MaritimeResearchMaritime website

The Maritime sector is set to undergo significant changes as technology revolutionises the way it operates, and as environmental concerns create new and more demanding requirements for the industry.

Kelly Tolhurst, Maritime Minister, says, “Innovation and technological advancements are key to developing a more efficient and advanced maritime sector as we build a green legacy from Covid-19. Through our ambitious Maritime 2050 vision, this government continues to support creative and innovative solutions to enhance our maritime transport, and I look forward to seeing the results of these cutting-edge projects.”

The Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) initiative supported by the Department for Transport (DfT), will help develop technological innovation that improves UK Maritime services and operations.

John Howie, MBE, Chair of MarRI-UK, says, “The 11 successful projects are great examples of UK technology and innovation, helping the UK maritime sector meet the challenges and goals set out in the Maritime 2050 vision.”

Solent University - partnered with a maritime technologies world-leader, Wärtsilä - has been awarded £164k to provide an accurate scaled demonstration of autonomous and remote technologies in the maritime sector, supporting the business case for adopting these technologies. This innovative proof-of-concept will bridge the gap between scaled models, digital simulation, and control in an accurate and realistic way.

Home to the most sophisticated maritime simulation centre in Europe and one of only five manned model ship handling centres in the world, Solent is the only place that this kind of research, testing and demonstration of autonomous and remote technologies can take place. Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets.

“The IGNITE project presents a significant opportunity for research in innovative technologies that could pave the way for a safer and more sustainable future in the maritime industry,” says Dr Laurie Wright, IGNITE project lead. “We have an exciting opportunity to work with Wartsila, to deliver a world-leading research and training facility for remote and autonomous maritime technologies,” he continues.

In January 2019, the government published Maritime 2050, a long-term vision for the future of the UK sector, which includes a commitment to strengthen maritime innovation and maximise the benefits from new maritime technology. From this, the Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Route Map was developed.

The Call was launched in September 2019, with organisations from across the UK able to apply for grants to develop mid TRL (TRL 3-7) technologies.

Out of 59 submissions, 11 were selected for funding by independent reviewers. Criteria included their strategic fit with Maritime 2050 and its Technology and Innovation Route Map, value for money, innovation and benefits to maritime operations and services.

MarRI-UK champions collaboration between companies, academia and Government and is based at the University of Strathclyde. The coordination of research across the maritime sector tackles technology and innovation challenges, and is underpinned by Government and industry initiatives, investment and support.

Professor Syamantak Bhattacharya, Solent University’s new Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research and Knowledge Exchange says, “I am delighted that we have won this award. It is a testimony to the expertise of our talented staff and the cutting-edge research we conduct here in Warsash Maritime School’s ship handling and maritime simulation facilities.”

You can find more information on the funding awards and the other projects that awarded funding here.