Engineering and the Environment

The LR Foundation and University of Southampton Research Collegium 2013 on "Coastal Eco-cities" 18 July - 11 September

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) in collaboration with the University of Southampton held a research collegium in Southampton in the summer of 2013. The collegium comprised of faculty staff and (predominantly young) research scholars from universities around the world and a few delegates from leading industrial establishments.

Motivation

The success of the collegium depends on the collaborative application of a broad range of engineering and other competences as the drive for improved efficiency and environmental systems performance places greater demand on the design community. The education of engineers and others who are the active contributors to identify practical solutions to global challenges is heavily focussed on engineering fundamentals, often aligned with traditional university course constraints. Interdisciplinary activity, covering processes from initial idea through concept into a deliverable reality and which includes a range of engineering branches and interactions between these, is largely absent from most university education.

Aim and format

The aim of the collegium was to provide an environment where young people in their formative post-graduate years learnt and worked in a small, mixed discipline teams drawn from academe and industry to develop their skills whilst addressing a global challenge. The collegium brief set demanding user requirements which encouraged delegates to develop an imaginative solution, using their individual knowledge and experience, together with learning derived from teaching which formed a common element of the early part of the programme.

The programme format provided adequate time for delegates to enhance their knowledge through a structured programme of taught modules which focused on the design process, advanced technologies, emerging technologies and novel solutions, regulatory and commercial issues, design challenges (such as environmental performance and climate change mitigation and adaptation) and engineering systems integration. Lecturers were drawn from academic research and industry to provide a mind-broadening opportunity for delegates, whatever their original specialisation.

Please watch the Introduction Video and three LRF Scholars share their experiences.

The Project

Background

The Collegium delegates were assigned into five teams of five individuals each. Each team collectively addressed the engineering and other issues for the collegium topic, which in 2013, was Coastal Eco-cities.

Background to the topic

A scenario on future climate of a 4ºC increase in global temperature by the close of the 21st century is now looking more probable as global carbon emissions continue to accelerate and as emissions reduction targets are missed. The gases that cause global warming linger in the atmosphere for decades and so there is an in-built inertia in our climate system. Thus our actions today to reduce carbon emissions will only start having an effect in the latter half of this century. This also means that the climate change predicted for the middle of the current century is almost certain to occur and that cities and nations across the world should prepare for these mid-century changes as a matter of urgency.

Most vulnerable of the cities and societies will be those adjacent to the seas and oceans. Today, approximately 3 billion people - about half of the world's population - live within 200 kilometres of a coastline. By 2025, that figure is likely to double. The high concentration of people in coastal regions has produced many economic benefits, including improved transportation links, industrial and urban development, revenue from tourism, and food production. But the effects of booming population growth combined with those of probable sea level rises owing to climate change are threatening the ecosystems that provide these economic benefits, indeed the very survival of many communities.

The project brief included: (a) quantification of the environmental challenge; (b) understanding of the geo-political legal-social context; (c) one integrated engineering system for a coastal eco-city ; (d) economics and logistics challenges.

The studies for items (a) and (b) featured the same background material, e.g. books, articles, conferences, journals, etc for all teams. Each team, focused on just one engineering or other appropriate system in dealing with items (c) and (d) and this represented the major element of the final reporting.

Educational aims

  1. Gaining experience of working as part of a team with different experiences and skills.
  2. Tackling a new subject and finding a solution to a problem within a time-, human resource- and finance-constrained situation.
  3. Tackling a real need/problem with industrial and commercial links.
  4. Learning to meet both personal and group objectives.
  5. Working and dealing with people from different cultural, social and educational skills backgrounds.
  6. Handling organisation and administration for a project.
  7. Developing communications and presentation skills.

A detailed prior knowledge of the topic was required or necessary for participation in the collegium.

Running the project

There were no hard and fast rules about conducting such projects but listed below are a few important issues.

Roles for individuals within the group were clearly decided; these were along discipline or subject lines as well as for administrative roles.

Paperwork was organised well so that records of all work, proceedings of meetings and actions agreed were carefully recorded.

Good communication was established amongst the group and with their project advisors and mentors. They drew up a programme of work with staged targets and tried to work with this programme.

Monitored the progress and refined the programme regularly on the basis of lessons learnt in the preceding period.

Kept a central record of all the literature and material related to their project.

Outputs and Outcomes

Outputs

A detailed learned report for free circulation to the contacts at the Lloyd's Register Foundation and all interested universities.

A technical paper from each team suitable for publishing in a reputable, peer reviewed journal, for dissemination internationally amongst technical and scientific audiences.

A team presentation to an invited audience of academics, industrialists, young engineers and students, in Southampton.

Individual presentations by participants in their respective institutions worldwide.

A factual report to magazines such as Professional Engineer, Ingenia, LR Insight, etc.

A communication from each team on the issues for the general public.

Outcomes

Worldwide exposure of the Lloyd's Register Foundation championing the dissemination of science and engineering underpinning advanced systems design issues.

Trained and skilled young people for employment in educational, in research and industrial organisations.

Enhanced understanding of the importance of systems design issues by wider public audiences.

2013 Coastal Eco-cities


2012 Seabed Exploitation

2011 Carbon Capture and Sequestration in Ocean Space

The Research Collegium was an initiative of The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust (The LRET), therefore in 2011 and 2012 it was The LRET Research Collegium. In March 2013, The LRET was assimilated into a new charity, Lloyd's Register Foundation, hence the 2013 Collegium is the Lloyd's Register Foundation Research Collegium. Lloyd's Register Foundation, sole shareholder of Lloyd's Register Group Ltd, invests in science, engineering and technology for public benefit, worldwide.

Delegates

The collegium delegates are expected to be future leaders in business, industry, government, research and/or academe.

Selection for the programme was done through a competitive process. Academic excellence along with professional competence was the criteria for selection. Candidates were invited to apply with their CVs that highlight the excellence achieved in their university studies and practical, industrial stints. They were also required to submit a 500 word essay as to their aspirations for the industry over the next twenty years. Finally their applications were supported by recommendations from two referees, one of whom is from within the institution where they are currently working or studying and one from other sources, possibly their tutor at university. Universities/industry had to ensure that applicants have a very good verbal and written skills in English.

The collegium was 100% residential. Reasonable travel costs, full board and lodging in Southampton and a weekly allowance for other out-of-pocket expenses were paid to all delegates.

Venue

University of Southampton, Seminar Room 2001, Building 28, Highfield Campus, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.

 

Contact

R.A.Shenoi@southampton.ac.uk  
Professor R A Shenoi
Lloyd's Register/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Professor
Director, Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute, University of Southampton

 

Sesfsirg@southampton.ac.uk  
Mrs Aparna Subaiah-Varma
Co-ordinator, The Lloyd's Register Foundation Research Collegium, University of Southampton

 

What's related

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Research Collegium Examines Global Issue

Research Collegium Examines Global Issue

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