Foto: Ingrid Marie Vincent Andersen

DTU Maritime Center

Renewed focus on education, industrial collaboration, and knowledge sharing in the maritime field

DTU Maritime Center was founded on 1 May 2014 to coordinate maritime activities at DTU in the areas of research, education, innovation, and research-based consultancy to The Blue Denmark.

Several departments contribute to the research and educational activities, including DTU Mechanical Engineering, DTU Management Engineering, DTU Transport, DTU Chemical Engineering, DTU Electrical Engineering, DTU Aqua, and DTU Space. The centre's primary focus is industrial collaboration, interdisciplinary research, and branding of the maritime study programmes and tracks at DTU.

One of the main reasons for establishing the centre was to make the maritime study tracks more visible to the students at DTU. Ingrid Marie Vincent Andersen, PhD from DTU Mechanical Engineering is head of DTU Maritime Center. She explains the objective of the centre: "It's a matter of profiling the maritime engineering programmes at DTU in collaboration with industry, and also ensuring that our graduates acquire the competencies demanded by industry."

Lack of maritime engineering graduates
One of the problems which the new centre is to address is that the current number of maritime engineering graduates does not match industry demand. According to Ingrid Marie Vincent Andersen, one of the main objectives is therefore to help and guide the students into a maritime course programme. "But it is also very much about renewing the current educational activities, for example by working with real-life cases from The Blue Denmark," she says. The aim is to provide students with the required competencies, but also to ensure that the course content is up-to-date and relevant, thereby making the maritime courses more attractive to students.

Kurset Medsejlads

In 2014, the course “Medsejlads” was established to give the students the important practical experience. Photo: Niels Schmidt.

Renewal of maritime courses at DTU
The renewal of several courses has particularly been aimed at increasing the focus on industry-specific problems and challenges, as well as ensuring that the students gain practical experience with maritime issues before graduating from DTU and writing their first job application. "We have prepared recommended study tracks on the BSc in Mechanical Engineering and as well as the MSc in Engineering Design and Applied Mechanics at DTU Mechanical Engineering," says Ingrid Marie Vincent Andersen. "The industry has also expressed a demand for interdisciplinarity, which is why we have included courses from other departments, such as DTU Management Engineering, DTU Electrical Engineering, and DTU Transport." The aim is to develop a so-called T-shaped competency profile, which means that maritime engineering students acquire a broad range of horizontal, interdisciplinary competencies as well as in-depth specialist competencies, including the classic competencies in the fields of mechanics and maritime technology.

Collaboration and cases
The interdisciplinary content as well as the industry-related material has already been integrated into several courses, allowing the students to work with real-life cases. The students are given insight into the complex issues of the maritime industry, which has promised to deliver case material for the different courses in future—in the same way as Maersk, for instance, has delivered cases for the TEMO course at DTU Management Engineering for the past three years. This offers the students the opportunity to view their technological specialization in an organizational and business context, thereby increasing their understanding of how to create value in their future jobs. They will learn about business models and strategies and how to view an organization from different perspectives.

On board a new course
Nevertheless, ensuring that the students gain experience with something as fundamental as being on board a ship is also essential. A new course offered at DTU Mechanical Engineering entitled 'Maritime Engineering at Sea' (41280, Danish title: 'Medsejlads') provides the students with basic knowledge of operating a merchant vessel at sea and in port, while also carrying out engineering work on board. The course was held for the first time in 2014 with six students from DTU Mechanical Engineering participating in an expedition to the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda on board the DTU research vessel Dana. The research vessel belongs to DTU Aqua and is known to have noise problems, which the students from DTU Mechanical Engineering were responsible for measuring and analysing. On the way from Hirtshals to Bermuda, they also gained the necessary level of practical experience with how to manage the daily tasks on a vessel, not least with the ship rolling 30 degrees for two days.


På vej mod Bermuda  Bermuda - nyt kursus på DTU Mekanik
 Different weather conditions on the way to Bermuda with the BA-course “Medsejlads”. Photo: Niels Schmidt.
Gyroscope showing how many degrees Dana was rolling. Photo: Niels Schmidt.