Singapore, UK Researchers Team up for Maritime R&D
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
L to R - H.E. Antony Phillipson, British High Commission; Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton; The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science of the United Kingdom; Prof. Raj. Thampuran, Managing Director, A*STAR; Prof. Alfred Huan, Executive Director of Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR; Prof. Ajit Shenoi, Director, Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute; Dr Lou Jing, Institute of High Performanc

Building on the fruitful past decade of U.K.-Singapore cooperation in scientific research and development, A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) officially launched a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D today, to develop innovative technological solutions through modeling and simulation using high performance computing technology, aimed at solving technical issues faced by the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

The opening of the joint laboratory symbolizes both countries’ continued commitment to the fostering of greater synergy and cooperation in moving the frontiers of science. The Joint Lab opening was witnessed by U.K. Minister of State for Universities and Science, The Rt Hon David Willetts MP.

As a globally leading maritime hub that is home to many companies in the offshore sector, Singapore provides an excellent base for the development of innovative technological solutions. The long legacy of the U.K. as a global maritime powerhouse further ensures the synergy of complementary expertise from both organizations that will greatly enhance the maritime, energy and offshore sectors and bring about economic benefits to both countries.

The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilized for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications.

The research areas are aimed at addressing two major challenges faced by the maritime and offshore sector:
• Continuing trend in deep-water offshore oil and gas drilling, where the main challenge is in the more complex engineering requirements, both in terms of the environment in which the platforms will operate, and in their design and risk analysis based on more reliable scientific approaches.
• Growth in shipping, from (a) the increasing size, variety and complexity of ships and, (b) a requirement for vessels to be “greener” from an environmental emissions viewpoint.

Prof. Alfred Huan, Executive Director of IHPC, said, “This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyse further R&D activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector.”

Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton, said, “The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute is a world-leading hub for international collaboration which really has no parallel in terms of its scale and ambition. With Singapore being home to the world’s leading maritime economy and supporting major strengths in marine and maritime engineering we are very pleased and excited for the SMMI to be working in collaboration with A*STAR here to deliver a number of projects to develop safer, improved and more efficient offshore and marine structures and ships to deliver real and tangible economic and environmental benefits for the future.”

Prof. Ajit Shenoi, Director of the SMMI, added, “The SMMI serves as a magnet to attract partners from around the world to draw upon our fantastic research and development capabilities and specialists. The future of humanity depends on us learning together and by working collaboratively through this new collaboration with A*STAR in Singapore is a catalyst for making major strides in all sectors of the maritime community, both academically and commercially.”

The multidisciplinary research leverages the complementary expertise and skillsets possessed by the SMMI researchers, and IHPC research scientists from the Fluid Dynamics and Engineering Mechanics departments. The collaboration draws upon IHPC's strength in computational modeling and simulation, and SMMI’s strength in marine research. The Joint Lab projects will focus on developing solutions in the marine and offshore sector where the technical challenges are complex and often beyond the capabilities of a single organization.

The Joint Lab will undertake projects in collaboration with other partners in the maritime and offshore R&D community, including researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS) and the IHPC-Lloyd’s Register Joint Lab co-located within IHPC premises.

The first four projects undertaken at the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab cover the following areas: hydrodynamics and fluid-structure interactions, applied mechanics and structure engineering.

The Joint Laboratory is located on A*STAR premises to promote engagement and more seamless scientific exchanges with researchers from other research fields, such as those from the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP commented, “As two of the world’s top proponents of scientific endeavor, the UK and Singapore celebrate 10 years of close cooperation in pioneering cutting-edge research innovation for global markets. Many leading British companies such as GSK, Lloyd's Register and Rolls-Royce have collaborated with A*STAR, jointly developing R&D capabilities to drive innovation and achieve growth in Asia. This new partnership symbolized in the Joint Lab has the potential to catalyze our countries' reputations as international maritime hubs, translating to a wealth of economic opportunities in Asia Pacific and beyond.”

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