Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - OCEANET (OceaNET)

Floating offshore wind and wave energy form part of an emerging offshore renewable energy industry. The two fields share several common features, including technological challenges and solutions, ocean space utilization challenges and industrial stakeholders. OceaNET ( is an Initial Training Network project dedicated to floating offshore wind and wave energy, comprising a consortium of 10 European partners led by WavEC Offshore Renewables, funded under the PEOPLE Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s FP7 Programme. The project builds on the success of previous research training networks (RTN) (Wavetrain and Wavetrain 2) managed by OceaNET’s coordinator. The ultimate goal of OceaNET is to train 13 science-based young engineers by offering them good technical, economic, environmental and societal background, and a market oriented approach for the upcoming Offshore Renewable Energy market. In doing so, the network develops a number of cutting-edge research projects/tasks, each led by one of the research trainees during 36 months, hosted by a first-class European Research & Development (R&D) institute, university or company active in the field. Activities focus on the areas of array design, implementation and O&M for wave and floating offshore wind energy applications. The development of enabling technologies to support the deployment and operation of arrays is equally addressed. The hands-on training is complemented with a handful of short-courses on a range of topics relating to the field of offshore renewable energies, including technology, resources and enabling technologies, as well as economic, environmental and societal issues. The training programme also comprises secondments to selected industrial companies.
The rationale underpinning the integration of floating offshore wind and wave energy in OceaNET’s training and research programmes lies not only in the fact that both are in a similar status of development and share the same enabling technologies, licensing, survivability, O&M issues and stakeholders, but also in the fact that the two areas require well-trained professionals with the same background. Such possibility is currently not covered by universities, which, due to the initial stage of the industry, are not yet offering the proper educational programs. OceaNET is actively contributing to change this state of affairs by providing high quality training in the field, ensuring an effective integration of the fellows’ research into the academic activities in the cases in which the host institution is a university and vehemently encouraging the fellows to engage in PhD studies.
Overall, the implementation of the OceaNET ITN during the first 24 months of the project has proceeded largely according to expectations. During the first year the project focused on the recruitment of researchers, building the network foundations and disseminating information about the project to a wider audience. In the following months there was a significant increase in the research activity across the network, with notable progresses, as can be seen in the attached early-stage researchers’ activity logs and individual reports.
Thirteen early stage researchers (ESRs) were hired by month 14. According to the ITN’s plan, each ESR should undertake a 36 month research project at his host institution. The researcher initially contracted by beneficiary no. 8, the University of Exeter, has left the project in January 2015. The position has been reopened and publicly advertised via the proper channels. A candidate was selected and the beneficiary’s research activities were resumed by April 2015. Ten ESRs are currently enrolled in a PhD.
The network has hosted four meetings during the first two years of the project: i) the Kick-off Meeting, in October 2013, Lisbon; ii) the OceaNET Welcome Seminar, in May 2014, Santander; iii) the First Progress Meeting, in July 2014, Lisbon; iv) the Mid-Term Review Meeting, in April 2015, Delft. The Welcome Seminar in May 2014 was attended by the appointed ESRs and representatives from most of the project partners. This event provided the first opportunity for the ESRs to meet each other and the scientists-in-charge, as well as to discuss and grasp the operational details of the ITN, from both the management and the scientific standpoints.
Five of the nine planned short-courses have been completed during the first period. These short-courses covered a range of topics relevant to the common offshore renewable energy background of the early-stage researchers, including offshore wind and wave energy resource, technology and modelling, plus innovation management and entrepreneurship. Other cross-cutting aspects such socio-economic and environmental issues, as well as farm design and operation will be covered in the remaining three short-courses to be organized during the second project period. These short-courses follow the “summer school” philosophy, with the fellows coming together during typically one week. As a consequence, they are instrumental not only in complementing the training of the young researchers in the field, but also in consolidating the ties among this up-and-coming community in terms of networking. In addition, the ESRs also attended the 9th and 10th INORE Symposia, thus extending their scientific connections to the wider offshore renewable energy emerging community.
OceaNET has been actively represented in the most important conferences and events in the fields of offshore wind and wave energy, such as EWTEC (the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference), EWEA Offshore by the European Wind Energy Association, OMAE (the International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Coastal Engineering), ISOPE (the International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference), ICOE (the International Conference on Ocean Energy) and RENEW (the International Conference on Renewable Energies Offshore). Furthermore, outcomes of the fellows’ research have already been published in a few articles in relevant peer-reviewed journals.
To sum up, the network is now fully operational, with clear signs of relevant research activity carried out by the ESRs. The increasing evidence of collaboration between the different ESRs is a very positive aspect and a clear manifestation that the group is growing into an intrinsically tied network that will, no doubt, boost and sustain the upcoming offshore renewable energy market. In fact, at this mid stage of the project, there are already positive signs that the industry is showing interest in this group of up-and-coming researchers.

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