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The University of Southampton

Working with the RNLI to help save lives at sea

Links between the University of Southampton and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are now entering their twelfth year.

Initial research into maritime safety involving ship scientists and naval architects at Southampton has now widened to include collaborations with academics from Management, Health Sciences, Medicine and Mathematics at the University. A long term advanced technology partnership has now been signed.

"We share the same aims," says Professor Ajit Shenoi of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment. "We want to improve safety standards on the water but this has gone beyond engineering alone. There are now many dimensions to our work which involves colleagues in other disciplines at Southampton."

The RNLI offers several challenging and meaningful projects to engineering students at all levels. They give opportunities to work on real-life problems that can make a real difference to safety at sea.

Another collaboration involves a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in which skilled graduates were recruited to work at RNLI headquarters in Poole. Their major project involves the development of computer models to explore ways of reducing the costs of building and maintaining the lifeboat fleet and technical design issues involved in deciding how frequently the boats and their equipment need maintenance.

Links between the University of Southampton and the RNLI will be enhanced with the establishment of the Marine and Maritime Institute, which will be led by Professor Shenoi. This will draw on the University's wide range of expertise in maritime engineering, ocean science, law and business and connect with the existing, highly varied range of marine businesses on the south coast of England.

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