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Dr James I R Blake BEng(Hons) MSc PhD MRINA FHEA

James is an Associate Professor in Sustainable Composites and High Performance Marine Vehicles and is the Director of Programmes for Maritime Engineering.

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Dr James I R Blake is Associate Professor within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Current position

James Blake is a Associate Professor in Ship Science and Maritime Engineering Science in High Performance Craft and Marine Safety & Environmental Engineering. He is a member of the Fluid Structure Interactions research group, the Performance Sports Laboratory and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute. He is Undergraduate Admissions Tutor for Ship Science.

Honours and awards

2013 SUSU Excellence in Teaching Award – Ship Science
2001 RINA Calder Prize
1993 RINA Student of the Year Award

Career history

James graduated in 1993 with a first class degree in Ship Science at the University of Southampton and received a scholarship to study for a Master of Science in Maritime Engineering Science before embarking on his doctoral research in the prediction of motions of high speed planing craft. In 2000, James was awarded his doctorate and became a research fellow at the University investigating composite structural performance and high speed craft performance. He has worked as a design engineer for Halyard Marine and Industrial (marine anti-noise and vibration equipment), as a naval architect for Vosper Thorneycroft (vessel intact and damaged stability) and for BMT Seatech (structural health monitoring). James served on the International Ship & Offshore Structures Congress representing the Specialist Committee for Yacht Design and the Specialist Committee for Structural Longevity. James currently sits on the World Sailing Sustainability Commission and is the academic coordinator for the RNLI Advanced Technology Partnership. He is a Member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research interests

James is interested in the fundamental way that fluid and structures interact and the practical consequences on the design and operation of marine vehicles. Consequently his research covers:

  • Performance sports;
  • Sustainable structural materials for composite boat design and production;
  • Experimental & theoretical analysis of composite material performance;
  • Structural reliability and risk analysis;
  • High speed planing craft performance and simulation;

MPhil/PhD Research

James is currently supervising a PhD studentship sponsored through Nelson Mandela University in the effect of trawling operations on the safety and performance of deep sea trawlers operating in the Southern Ocean (Douse, B).

Security of boat moorings and harvesting their energy
Pride of Humber on her mooring
manufactured totally form bioderived materials
Student success with the RS800 hull
scans of voids in typical leisure boat resin infused laminates
X-ray Computed Tomography
Simulating high performance craft for design and training.
High Speed Craft Simulator
to improve underwater vehicle performance
Mimicking penguin flight

Research group

Maritime Engineering

Research project(s)


Researching bio-derived solutions for marine composite structures is vital to the sustainability of UK boatbuilding.

Simulating high performance craft for design and training

PhD Supervision

James has supervised 19 PhD students with the 4 most recent successes in:

“Uncertainty in Marine Weather Routing: An Investigation into Polynesian Seafaring” (Dickson, T, 2020)

“Experimental and Numerical Investigation on the Mechanical and Dynamic Performance of Flax/E-glass Hybrid Composites” (Cihan, M, 2019)

 “Suitability of a linseed oil epoxy resin for composite application” (Benega, M, 2019)

“Safety Assessment of Flax Composites for Structural Applications” (Blanchard, J, 2019)

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Book Chapters



SESS3027 Yacht and High Performance Craft

SESG6039 Composite Engineering Design and Mechanics

SESS6065 Fundamentals of Ship Science

SESS6071 Marine Structures in Fluids


Dr James I R Blake
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number : 176/3015

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