EU grants nearly one million euros to Aalto University’s Marine Technology research
EU's Horizon 2020 programme has granted altogether nearly one million euros to three of Aalto University's Marine Technology research projects in early 2017. The projects develop computational models for sandwich structures used in ships, research novel materials for shipbuilding and increase the safety of arctic sea traffic.
‘There have been changes to research funding, but Marine Technology has adapted to the changes and succeeded to gain EU-funding’, states Professor Jani Romanoff from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Objective: economical, safe and energy efficient ships
Romanoff directs the SANDFECH project (Micromechanics-based finite element modelling of sandwich structures), which develops theoretical and computational beam and plate models, that ease the structural design of welded sandwich structures. The steering group of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project also includes a representative of the Meyer Turku Shipyard.
‘Shipbuilding has traditionally relied on stiffened plate structures. Replacing them with lighter sandwich structures is more economical and energy efficient. This drops material, space and fuel costs. Simplified modelling is needed to keep the computational burden manageable, when analysing a cruiser’s structures, for example.’
The project starts in August 2017 as Postdoctoral Researcher Anssi Karttunen joins Professor J.N. Reddy’s computational mechanics research group at the Texas A&M University. Reddy, a top researcher in the field, worked at Aalto University between 2014 and 2016 as Finland Distinguished Professor.
The other two Marine Technology research projects are co-operation projects. The RAMSESS project (Realisation and Demonstration of Advanced Material Solutions for Sustainable and Efficient Ships) studies novel ship structures and Heikki Remes is the project’s supervising professor. The SEDNA research project (Safe maritime operations under extreme conditions; the Arctic case) aims at contributing to safer sea traffic in the Arctic and Pentti Kujala acts as the supervising professor.
Marine Technology researchers point their spyglasses to the horizon
Aalto University’s research on ship structures, safety of sea traffic and arctic marine technology is remarkable on the international level. The Marine Technology and Arctic Technology research group includes seven professors, one international Finland Distinguished Professor, lecturers, postdoctoral researchers and doctoral candidates. In addition, the Joint Research Centre of Excellence for Arctic Shipping and Operations offers doctoral students a unique international doctoral education network. The multidisciplinary Cruise & Ferry research project introduces novel innovations to Marine Technology by combining it with economy and design.
‘Our objective is to increase our know-how in the hydrodynamics of large passenger vessels and in the interaction of ice and waves in addition to our current strengths. The research has to be future-oriented and we must find answers to questions that are yet to be asked’, says Professor Pentti Kujala.
New know-how for industry
Approximately 20–30 Marine Technology Masters of Science, who are equipped with the skills the industry demands, graduate annually from the Mechanical Engineering, Cold Climate Engineering and Maritime Engineering Master's degree programmes. On average, four Doctors of Science graduate from the Maritime Engineering field annually.
Southwest Finland is a notable concentration of Finnish Marine Technology in addition to the capital region. During the past 10 years, 180 Marine Technology Masters of Science have graduated from Aalto, and 60 of them have been employed by companies operating in Southwest Finland. The co-operation between Aalto and these companies is close, and to name an example, four Aalto University doctoral candidates, who specialise in marine solid mechanics, are currently working at the Meyer Turku Shipyard to develop new shipbuilding technology.
‘Marine Technology is a multidisciplinary field which requires a wide variety of know-how. The elective Marine Technology minors offer all of Aalto University's technology students the possibility to specialise in Marine Technology. This provides them with the know-how in, for example, automation technology, computer science and energy technology which they can then bring to the companies they work for. Through the Cruise & Ferry project, design and business know-how also become part of the package offered to companies’, Kujala reminds.
Horizon 2020 is an EU research and innovation framework programme for 2014–2020, which funds European research and innovation projects with nearly 80 billion euros. The funding model of Horizon 2020 is based on competition and on average, 10 percent of the applications result in receiving funding. The programme aims at creating growth and new jobs in Europe and improving the global competitiveness of European companies.