A new industry-funded programme is addressing a perceived lack of expertise in marine systems in Canada.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is using a C$1.5M (US$1.13M) donation from shipyard group Vard to establish the Marine Systems Initiative, which is intended to bolster electrical systems education and research within marine engineering and naval architecture courses.
“The need for qualified personnel, especially in the electrical marine area is immediate and could not happen soon enough,” said Vard Electro Canada managing director Robert Louie.
UBC president professor Santa Ono highlighted the importance of industry partnerships in identifying focus areas for education. “With Canada facing a shortage of qualified engineers and naval designers, it’s especially urgent to find these areas where collaboration can result in new graduates for industry and novel technologies to drive our economy forward,” he said.
The programme, based in the university’s Faculty of Applied Science, will create a curriculum in the naval architecture and marine engineering degree programmes. The content will focus on electrical and systems engineering. Similar content will also be developed for the faculty’s research-based programmes.
The university reported that the project will also foster research in areas with the potential to advance marine safety and innovation, including energy, propulsion systems, shipboard communications and sensors, software systems, cybersecurity, high-performance computing and human factors.
An inaugural industry workshop last week hosted representatives from Canada’s marine industry and UBC researchers.
The project comes as Canada progresses through a C$38Bn (US$28.5Bn) national shipbuilding programme launched in 2010, comprising 21 warships and 17 non-combat vessels. The shipbuilding is split between Seaspan in Vancouver and Davie Shipbuilding in Halifax. Vard is one of several subcontractors, providing ship and system design.
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