2nd SMI Forum sees strong participation from industry stakeholders

Organised for the second consecutive year by the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), the SMI Forum saw leaders from various organisations come together to share and discuss industry issues and developments in maritime education, research and development (R&D).

SMI has put in place Maritime Institutes (MI) within four Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to move towards its vision of a maritime knowledge hub in Singapore and to nurture a thriving maritime industry in Singapore that is driven by knowledge and innovation.

MI@IHL is a SMI initiative to establish coordinating offices within IHLs to bring greater focus on maritime & offshore activities within each institution and provide stronger coordination for inter-disciplinary research projects. The MIs at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the National University of Singapore (NUS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) aim to drive and coordinate maritime and offshore education and training and R&D activities across the various centres, schools, colleges and faculties residing within each IHL.

Today, the four MI@IHLs are operational and the Executive Director for each IHL shared their respective set-up at the Forum to inform the industry and to gather feedback to better refine their future plans. Whilst each of the MI@IHLs will continue to grow and develop its education and research activities, they will also champion specific research areas and focus: MI@NUS will look into offshore and subsea R&D, MI@NTU will drive green ports and green shipping while SP will drive simulation and engineering for the maritime sector and NP will drive marine & offshore technology, with a focus on SMEs, for the offshore sector.

Professor Freddy Boey, Deputy President and Provost of NTU said, “As Singapore moves towards a more knowledge-intensive, knowledge-driven economy, it is critical that the maritime education curriculum is constantly reviewed and revised to meet the increasingly complex and multi-disciplinary needs of the industry. The provision and availability of relevant education and training programmes will form an important component and foundation of a global maritime & offshore knowledge hub here in Singapore. The Maritime Institute@NTU will contribute to the industry through relevant research projects and play its part to uplift the quality of education provided to both undergraduates and working professionals.”

Since their setup in April 2012, the MI@IHLs have been engaging the industry through three workshops on R&D. Targeted at both members from the maritime industry and academia, the workshops have seen a growing number of attendees in each session. With the good inputs received in the first R&D workshop, the S$8 million Maritime Energy Systems R&D programme was established for a period of three years to support academia-industry R&D projects. SMI has since received close to 40 proposals from both local and foreign companies for this programme.

Mr SS Teo, Chairman of SMI,s Board and Governing Council, said “In addition to supporting industry development by funding joint R&D projects, SMI also seeks to grow Singapore,s thought leadership in maritime business and policy issues. Some recent examples are the funding of research studies relating to the use of LNG as a shipping fuel in Singapore and analysing the competitiveness and attractiveness of our port.”

The SMI Forum,s keynote speakers expressed their support of SMI,s plans to build up Singapore,s position as an International Maritime Centre, through knowledge and innovation. They also took the opportunity to share their thoughts with the industry stakeholders on building up Singapore,s academic and research capabilities.

“At a time of immense strain in the maritime sector, Singapore has the opportunity to play an important role as a forum for thought leadership and with policies that can help the industry to move to the next stage of growth. The Singapore Maritime Institute provides an excellent platform for sharing ideas on what can be done”, said Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chief Executive Officer of BW Maritime.

“Singapore,s success as a world leader in the construction of offshore oil rigs is a result of the strong collaborations between industry partners, government bodies and educational institutions. Initiatives such as this by the Singapore Maritime Institute helps to bring top industry professionals together to advance the industry and nurture a crop of young talents in the offshore and marine sector. It further enhances Singapore,s position to develop new technological and innovative solutions for the industry,” said Mr Chow Yew Yuen, Chief Operating Officer of Keppel Offshore & Marine.

“Singapore is well known for its commitment to research, education and nurturing technical innovation, which is why Lloyd,s Register decided to build one of the foundations of our global research and development network in the Lion City,” said Mr Claus Myllerup, Managing Director of Lloyd,s Register,s Group Technology Centre. “With the global demand for cleaner marine transport and energy growing every year, the technical challenges ahead will require firm commitments from industry, academia and governments. We look forward to working with organisations such as the SMI to meet those challenges and provide society with the essential services and products it needs.”

The maritime community can look forward to more workshops in 2013, which will be jointly organised by SMI and the MI@IHLs, on a wide range of topics covering maritime and offshore activities.

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