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Coordinated academic RTD and education supporting innovation in marine industries

Final Report Summary - CAREMAR (Coordinated Academic RTD and Education Supporting Innovation in Marine Industries)

The CAREMAR project focused on the identification and development of mechanisms to link the expertise within European universities with the research, education and technological requirements from companies working in the area of marine technology and related sciences. CAREMAR addresses the delivery of innovative scientific research and Research Based Education (RBE) in the context of a changing global market where European growth and competitiveness depends upon industry's ability to be flexible and efficient and to develop innovative marine products. CAREMAR seeks to make an effective contribution to sustainable marine surface transport and marine tasks for the benefit of European society.

No attempt has been made thus far to mobilise the greater part of this university expertise in one coordinated programme. This has been demanded by European industry to seek solutions for sustainable transport and competitive businesses through mobilising the skills and resources of the entire European marine technology academic community in areas prioritised by the European maritime industries themselves.

More specifically, the objectives of the project were:
- To undertake a thorough examination of current RTD and RBE practices of European universities and to propose improvements to the underlying processes in consultation with industry, especially where this brings together university consortia in joint programmes or course development to satisfy industry needs.
- To provide a platform for the supply of RTD, which derives from and is initiated or coordinated by the university sector that meets industry needs through research, provision of manpower and knowledge transfer.
- Identify and improve communications routes between universities, Research organisations and industry for improved RTD project development and undertaking.
- To provide a focussed approach using innovative tools for the supply of RTD, especially in the identification and management of expertise and facilities.
- To demonstrate through practical means how this can be achieved and to incorporate RTD results in the educational programmes
- To effectively disseminate the results and facilitate the acceptance by European society.
- To coordinate these efforts with those of proposers of integrated projects (IPs), Networks of Excellence (NoE) and other Coordinated Actions (CAs) for effective distribution of best practice.
- To demonstrate the positive effect of this coordination through the participation in the preparation and presentation of IPs, NOEs and CAs, and proposals within IPs, NOEs and CAs.
- To demonstrate the portability of the proposed solutions to other industry sectors.

In order to achieve the project's objectives, the methodological approach undertaken embraced a variety of tasks that were expected to fulfil the identified objectives. A detailed work plan with clear deliverables and milestones through the project's execution integrating a series of tasks was therefore developed. The work plan involved four work packages. The first one provided the overall project co-ordination and final report integration (WP0); the second one related to the CAREMAR RTD and RBE systematic analysis (WP1); the third one related to the CAREMAR infrastructure and tools (WP2); while the fourth work package related to the CAREMAR synthesis of needs in RTD and dissemination (WP3).

WP1 faced difficulties in gathering sufficient replies, proactive response from the consortium was initiated in order to overcome these difficulties. As a result WEGEMT provided incentives to Universities and approached various organisations and shipbuilding industries in the marine sector in order to gather a sufficient number of questionnaire responses. In addition, WEGEMT proceeded in subcontracting University College of London (UCL) in order to gather failing information regarding the warship and submarine design sector both for Europe and the US and to assist in proving further information regarding the subdivided subjects for WP1. The objectives set for WP1 and for CAREMAR project were reached and the end result from WP1 activities were the compilation of suggestions for further improvement and innovation in the educational system to strengthen European unity in education on marine technology in accordance to the Bologna Declaration; the identification of bottlenecks in the RTD process and key research areas and the presentation of suggestions for future RBE systems.

The work performed by WP2 focused on the development and delivery of a set of databases that contain the outputs from WP 1 and also provide a comprehensive information source of university based expertise and facilities, as well as the development and delivery of a user focused portal and online subject related community based on the outputs of WP1 and 2. Therefore WP2 tasks and subtasks involved the development and delivery of databases, user manuals, training of consortium members and fully operation of the CAREMAR portal. The end result of WP2 activities is a fully functional CAREMAR portal. As a result of the impact of WP2 activities is the running up of the database/portal by WEGEMT after the project's completion, since the portal could be a major European resource, which can be used by a wide variety of organisations seeking a broad variety of information concerning RTD and RBE in marine technology and related sciences.

WP 3 objectives related to the project's general objectives in the form of presenting a series of tasks and activities which demonstrate the overall appropriateness of the CAREMAR outputs to improvements in research coordination methodologies, the underpinning innovation infrastructure and the relationships between universities and industry. The partners in this work package therefore delivered demonstrators that clearly addressed each of these areas. Throughout the duration of the project WP3 established focus groups and focus group leaders that addressed the thematic priority 1.1.6: Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems, and its subsections. For this work package subcontracting UCL was necessary, in order to obtain further information and input from industry and academia including USA.
Work performed by WP0 focused primarily on the overall coordination and management of CAREMAR Project, as well as the development and presentation of the project's exploitation and dissemination strategy and the organisation of the annual CAREMAR Workshops.

Overall, as a result of the CAREMAR project, questionnaires were developed and analysed; workshops, proceedings, initiatives, focus groups and databases were generated in order to compile suggestions for improvements in educational systems, to strengthen European unity in education on marine technology and to disseminate the obtained knowledge. Workshops and reports were used as tools both in achieving the compilation and the dissemination of these suggestions.

The impact of these actions can contribute towards employment, education, training and working conditions as the project deals with the identification of methods for educational harmonisation at a system level (a clear requirement of the Bologna Agreement of the European Ministries of Education), improvements in access to training and the overall evaluation of on-going education and training as it is currently practised. The likelihood that the improvements in the key processes in the RTD/RBE supply chain can lead to an increase of the competitiveness of the marine technology and maritime industry and eventually to economic growth. The use of tools created by CAREMAR can serve to enhance the speed and efficiency of the RTD process across the whole of Thematic Priority and together with the planned RTD analyses can ultimately lead to better quality RTD projects that can help to improve scientific and technological prospects. Through CAREMAR's dissemination methodologies and reported recommendations decision makers can be better informed about university capabilities and can also have reports with guidelines for future RTD and RBE strategies either through their active interaction with the CAREMAR system or as recipients of CAREMAR's dissemination and exploitation activities.