About SMI

Executive Director's Message

Dear friends and partners of the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI)

At the start of this new year, SMI welcomes Professor Low Teck Seng who succeeded Mr Wong Weng Sun as the Chairman of SMI. Prof Low brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from his distinguished career in academia and research. Formerly as CEO of the National Research Foundation, he was actively overseeing the agency’s programme management, policy coordination, as well as funding and grant governance capabilities. I look forward to working closely with Prof Low and believe that his strong vision and strategic leadership will help steer and guide SMI on its next lap.

I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mr Wong for his invaluable commitment as SMI’s Chairman for the past six years. Under his leadership and guidance, SMI has grown from strength to strength, building firm foundations in key maritime R&D domain expertise at our Centres of Excellence. We wish him the very best in his endeavours!

2022 had been a very busy and fruitful year for SMI. We have been engaging the maritime research and development (R&D) community including the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), research institutes and industry partners, local and overseas, to come onboard with us on our new initiatives and programmes towards our refreshed SMI vision to be a world-class global maritime knowledge hub driven by research and innovation. I would like to take this opportunity to share some key highlights of the seeds that we have planted in four main areas. 

The first is to “grow a pipeline of industry-ready R&D talent and domain experts”. SMI is actively developing initiatives to grow our R&D talent pool to support the needs of a global knowledge and innovation hub. Some of the initiatives we have supported and funded in 2022 includes Phase 2 of research and training for the Centre for Maritime Law at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the enhanced MPA Endowed Chair Professorship in Maritime Management at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the development of a new Minor in Maritime Management with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). 

The second area SMI is pushing ahead is to “expand frontiers in new knowledge areas”. In early 2022, SMI had received 15 research proposals for the Maritime Artificial Intelligence Grant Call, of which two projects were awarded to NUS and one to the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). The research teams will work with industry partners including Kongsberg Digital, RightShip and Wartsila Voyage, to utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to solve challenges in sustainability, safety and security. We hope this pilot run of maritime AI grant call R&D projects will encourage more industry partners and researchers to join us in our push for digitalisation and greater use of AI in the maritime ecosystem.

Funding was also awarded for the development of a new five-year Maritime AI Programme led by A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), to drive a co-ordinated effort for maritime AI research, build safe and secure AI capabilities for the maritime industry to facilitate industry wide adoption of AI. With this programme, IHPC will be the central node for maritime AI research in Singapore, forming collaborations with other research institutes as well as industry partners. Close to S$10mil has been committed towards the maritime AI push. We hope that this co-ordinated approach will support the development of next-generation maritime AI-enabled solutions that can help to strengthen Singapore’s position as a highly digitalised and intelligent maritime hub.

SMI also provided funding for a new Maritime Testbed of Shipboard Operational Technology (MariOT) system developed by iTrust, Centre for Research in Cyber Security at Singapore University of Technology and Design. The MariOT will be an important new platform for research, design and validation of cybersecurity technologies that can be deployed in shipboard OT systems. A 10-year programme, MariOT will also be a platform to facilitate cybersecurity training and exercises for shipowners, maritime professionals and stakeholders to test understanding and train crew readiness in a safe, controlled and realistic environment. The new testbed facility will help address a significant gap and concern in the maritime sector which will continue to be threatened by cybersecurity threats in the foreseeable future.  

As these new programmes are being launched, I would like to invite the maritime industry and research community to come onboard and share new use cases and challenges – the more challenges shared and partners onboard, the greater the usefulness of these R&D programmes towards developing meaningful solutions for the industry. 

Our third area of R&D investment is to “elevate our Centres of Excellences to global research centres with deep domain expertise”. In this regard, SMI has awarded S$22mil to renew the phase two funding support for the Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence (MESD) at NTU and the Centre of Excellence in Modelling and Simulation for Next Generation Ports (C4NGP) at NUS.  For the past five years, these centres have built strong foundations in their respective domain expertise. SMI is pleased to support the centres to build on the capabilities developed, and shift towards more active engagement with industry to translate their research outcomes into implementable solutions for the industry. 

There are two other centres of excellences funded and supported by SMI, which are still in their phase one of development. The Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety (CEMS) at Singapore Polytechnic is the domain expert for safety and security research, and has developed new AI tools for training and assessment of seafarers, as well as cutting edge training methods using AR/VR and AI. The Centre of Excellence in Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vessels (CEAOPS) at TCOMS has developed and mapped our digital metocean capabilities to support optimised and safe navigation for smart and autonomous operations, and will continue to consolidate domain expertise and be the go-to centre for MASS developments in Singapore. 

I would like to thank the four Centre Directors as well as their scientists and researchers for their good work and accomplishments over the years. To find out more on the centres’ work, do check out the new SMI Research Spotlight series, where we featured research projects conducted by the four CoEs. The videos are available on our SMI website as well as social media, including LinkedIn and YouTube.

Our fourth area of effort is to “accelerate knowledge building and research frontiers through global collaborations”. Maritime is a global industry with global challenges. It is not sufficient for our Centres of Excellence and research community in Singapore to develop capabilities and expertise on our own. They will need to connect with and establish strong partnerships with international maritime R&D partners with complementary strengths to solve common challenges and find a way forward together. 

SMI has been leading this charge and has expanded our international linkages at institute and corporate levels. At the Singapore Maritime Week in April 2022, SMI and the Research Institutes of Sweden (RI.SE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on joint research initiatives. SMI and RI.SE have since conducted a joint workshop in Singapore and are working with the researchers in Sweden to develop joint research projects, which we hope to be able to launch in 2023. SMI has also signed and renewed collaboration agreements with countries including Finland, Norway, Denmark, France, China and Australia. 

I believe that these international collaborations can help to bring together complementary strengths in our respective maritime ecosystems and accelerate innovation in global maritime R&D. Working together, our collaborations with strong international partners can develop better outcomes with greater impact that will benefit all participating parties. 

To promote our efforts locally, SMI participated at the MarineTech Exhibition in April 2022, where we showcased the work of our four CoEs. SMI also co-organised the International Maritime and Port Technology Development Conference (MTEC) and the 4th International Conference on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (ICMASS) with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the Research Council of Norway and SINTEF Ocean. 

SMI’s journey towards our refreshed vision of a global maritime research, knowledge and innovation hub has only just begun. In this endeavour, I would like to invite interested partners, industry and researchers, local and global, to reach out to SMI and join us as we continue to “drive R&D towards greater impact” for the Maritime Singapore ecosystem. 

Tan Cheng Peng

SMI Executive Director

Simulation & Modelling (SAM)

Awarded on 17 Oct 2014

In addition to being one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore has also likewise thrived as one of the leading global maritime capitals that is highly driven by knowledge-based services and expertise. With changing demands and complexity of port and shipping activities, there would be a need for better management of complex port and ship systems.

With global trend drivers, such as shipping market volatility, environmental regulations, and energy cost-efficiency, advanced technological solutions would be required to address these concerns through innovation in port infrastructure and ship design. Hydrodynamics, physical modelling, and mathematical modelling are some of the scientific means towards more cost-effective and environmentally friendly operations. There has also been proposed methodology that focuses more on integrated systems-approach over independent components-approach.

An integrated systems strategy would also drive the need to manage sophisticated engineering and technology through risk-based approach for higher reliability and asset lifecycle management to bring cost benefits. This would enable users to complement both business and technical objectives.

Building upon the above technological trend towards a greater need for advanced complex systems, higher end training would also be required to produce competent manpower with the critical domain knowledge and skillsets. Looking beyond the conventional field of training through simulation, research in the human-machine interface through applied human engineering studies of maritime ergonomics would also be applicable to optimise interaction between people and technology for safety and productivity best practices.

As part of Singapore Maritime Institute’s (SMI) efforts to support the maritime industry in Singapore, a research grant amounting to S$5 million has been allocated to promote research through this thematic R&D programme. The Simulation & Modelling (SAM) R&D Programme aims to support projects involving the research and development of innovative technologies, approaches and ideas towards simulation & modelling for maritime applications.


Programme Themes

  • Risk Management
  • Human Factor Studies
  • Maritime Training & Operation

Asset Integrity & Risk Management (AIM)

Awarded on 02 Nov 2015

In oil & gas E&P, safe and reliable operations are of paramount importance to the industry. Asset integrity should never be compromised and risk management is critical to ensure lives and marine environment are safeguarded.

With enhanced oil recovery techniques, operators are stretching the existing reserves with assets that are reaching their design service life. These aged assets are often susceptible to failures due to mechanical degradations and harsh offshore environment.

Oil exploration has also inevitably moved into deep-sea as shallower oil wells become depleted. The offshore assets are installed in deeper water and are increasingly inaccessible. The associated cost of asset maintenance increases exponentially for deep-water regions resulting in the need for technological innovations in asset integrity & risk management. Integrity assessment and risk management solutions, anticipation of possible failures of systems and emergency response plans in the event of asset failures would be critical.

The offshore assets covered include offshore structures, subsea and down-hole equipment. The key research objectives are:

a) Identification of safety critical elements (SCEs)
The weakest structural components that are most susceptible to external forces, cyclic loadings and harsh environment known as safety critical elements should be identified.

b) Reduction of reliance on manual inspection
The inaccessible assets in deeper water and harsher environment drive the need for remote and autonomous inspection and maintenance which are increasingly reliant on sensor based technologies.

c) Low hardware overheads
Cost is one of the major considerations when sensors and wireless systems are installed. Such overheads include the cost of manufacturing the sensors and systems, power requirement as well installation compatibility with the existing assets.

d) High reliability systems under harsh environment
The increasingly harsh environment at deeper water with strong waves and currents as well as deeper wells with hostile chemicals and high pressure high temperature (HPHT) pose significant technical challenges. Sensors and systems must survive such environment with high reliability.


Programme Themes

  • Software Development
  • Hardware Development & Deployment
  • New Asset Installation
  • System Level Management

Projects awarded (will be updated progressely):

Joint Call for Proposals in Maritime Research between Norway and Singapore (MNS)

Awarded on 21 Mar 2016

Maritime Research between Norway and Singapore (MNS)

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (“MPA”) and the Research Council of Norway (“RCN”) executed a Memorandum of Understanding on 6th March 2000 (“MOU”) relating to joint co-operation in maritime research, development, education and training. The MOU will be extended for its sixth successive three-year term in 2015.
To further enhance this co-operation, and to facilitate the creation of collaborative projects between the research communities in Singapore and Norway, RCN, MPA and Singapore Maritime Institute (“SMI”) have launched a joint call for bilateral funding of research projects in mutually agreed fields. A total of NOK 15 million is available from RCN for Norwegian partners and up to S$3 million is available from SMI for the Singaporean partners.

Research areas covered

The call is in the field of maritime research. The applications in this call must cover one or more of the following topics:
Maritime arctic research
  • Operational decision support systems and logistics solutions
  • Emergency preparedness, prevention & response

Maritime navigation safety

  • e-Navigation
  • Vessel Traffic Management
  • Data analytics on traffic pattern and risk
  • Ship-shore communication
  • Internet of things at sea

Ship operation & safety

  • Simulation & Training
  • Human factors studies
  • Unmanned ships
  • Remote Piloting
  • Control Room Systems
  • Hull structural design

Green shipping

  • Green fuels
  • Energy efficiency
  • Ballast water
  • Hull cleaning
  • Optimizing routing and operation
  • Hull and propeller design
  • Energy saving devices
  • LNG Bunkering in Shipping

Ship-port operations

  • Port optimization
  • Smart ports

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (Amm)

Awarded on 01 Aug 2016

Oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) has inevitably moved into harsher operating environment. While oil price has slumped to a very low level, industry is focusing on technology developments to lower the cost of E&P. The fundamental sciences such as chemistry, physics and materials have attracted more attention than before in seeking innovative and disruptive technologies to enhance operational efficiency and improve reliability.


Operations in deeper waters with strong waves and currents pose challenges on structural integrity. Operations in Arctic pose a different set of challenges with extreme low temperature. As industry moves into ultra-deep wells with extreme high pressure and high temperature (HPHT), higher reliability is required in meeting the performance specifications to ensure safe and reliable operations. The underpinning material sciences in different operating regimes are the fundamental challenges to the increasingly harsh E&P environment.


Industry is also constantly innovating new materials for offshore applications as well as smart materials which allow more perimeters to be measured for condition monitoring of offshore structures and processes.


SMI through its engagements with the industry and academia has identified the following research thrusts and corresponding research focus areas under the grant call.  The materials covered in this grant call should be used in offshore structures, subsea and down-hole equipment with the following key research objectives:


  1. New materials development and materials enhancement to meet the operating needs under harsher environment while maintaining cost competitiveness
  2. Smart materials developments which allow condition monitoring and improve operational efficiency in the E&P lifecycle
  3. Testing methodologies developments to improve the accuracy of materials assessment and/or allow in-situ assessment to determine real-life residual life and fatigue conditions
  4. Enhancement of materials processability to improve performance and reliability of processed materials and structures


Programme Themes

  • New Materials Development
  • Materials Enhancement
  • Material Testing
  • Material Processing & Manufacturing

Maritime Sustainability (MSA)

Awarded on 04 Jan 2016

Given its location at the crossroad between East and West trade, Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world for commercial shipping and maritime services. Last year, the Port of Singapore welcomed more than 135,000 vessels and handled a total of 560 million tonnes of cargo. The maritime industry is an important part of Singapore’s economy as it is one of the fastest growing economic sectors, contributing to 7% of Singapore’s GDP.

To address one of the key challenges facing the maritime industry on sustainable shipping, research and development into innovative technologies to transform maritime transportation and port operations will enhance both regulatory compliance and better service offerings by the industry.

SMI through its engagements with the industry and academia has identified the following research areas and possible corresponding research topics under the Maritime Sustainability grant call to support maritime developments and environment protection:


a) Ballast Water Management
Possible Research Topics include Detection and Measuring Equipment / Treatment System, Treatment Technology, and Risk Assessment for Ballast Water Management System.


b) Exhaust Emission Control
Possible Research Topics include Scrubbing / Cleaning Technology, Tools and Systems.


c) Ship Noise & Vibration
Possible Research Topics include Simulation & Modelling, Materials, and Ship Design and Construction.


d) Port Sustainability
Possible Research Topics include Port Air Emission Control Technology, Cleaner Energy for Port, Port Waste-to-Resource Management, and Energy Conservation.

Programme Themes

  • Ballast Water Management
  • Exhaust Emission Control
  • Ship Noise & Vibration
  • Port Sustainability

MPA and SMI Joint Call for Proposals 2020 on Harbour Craft Electrification

Awarded on 01 Oct 2021

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) have awarded funding to three consortiums led by Keppel FELS Limited, SeaTech Solutions and Sembcorp Marine, and comprising a total of 30 enterprises and research institutions, to research, design, build and operate a fully electric harbourcraft over the next five years. These electrification pilot projects will demonstrate both commercial and technical viability of specific use cases for full electric harbourcraft and will support Singapore’s broader plans to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the maritime transport sector.


Harbourcraft Electrification Projects

No Consortium lead  Consortium members Project Scope
1 Keppel FELS Limited


  1. DNV
  2. Eng Hup Shipping

(Vessel owner/operator)

  1. Envision Digital
  2. Surbana Jurong

IHLs/ research institutes

  1. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  2. Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore
To develop Solid State Transformer based shore charger & electric kit on an existing 30 pax ferry
2 SeaTech Solutions International (S) Pte Ltd


  1. Batam Fast Ferry Pte Ltd
  2. Bernhard Schulte (Singapore) Holdings Pte Ltd
  3. DM Sea Logistics Pte Ltd
  4. Jurong Port Pte Ltd
  5. Kenoil Marine Services Pte Ltd
  6. Lita Ocean Pte Ltd
  7. Marina Offshore Pte Ltd
  8. Rina Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch
  9. Sterling PBES Energy Solutions Ltd.
  10. Yinson Production Offshore Pte Ltd

(Vessel owner)

IHLs/ research institutes

  1. Singapore Institute of Technology
  2. Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore
To develop a full electric lighter craft[i]
3 Sembcorp Marine Integrated Yard Pte Ltd


  1. ABB Pte Ltd
  2. Durapower Holdings Pte Ltd
  3. Jurong Marine Services Pte Ltd
  4. OPL Services Pte Ltd
  5. Rolls-Royce Singapore Pte Ltd
  6. SP One Pte Ltd
  7. Tian San Shipping Pte Ltd

(Vessel Owner/ operator)

  1. York Launch Pte Ltd

IHLs/ research institutes

  1. A-STAR Institute of High-Performance Computing
  2. Nanyang Technological University
  3. National University of Singapore
  4. Singapore Institute of Technology
To develop and build a full electric ferry for 200 persons for a specific route
[i] A lighter craft is a vessel used for the carriage of dry or packaged cargoes.