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Intelligent & Resilient Ocean Engineering – Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging TechnologiesNews and Events

The Leverhulme Trust awards SMMI £1.35m to support Intelligent Oceans Doctoral Scholarships

Published: 15 February 2021
Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded the Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute (SMMI) £1.35m to support 15 PhD positions under the overarching theme of ‘Intelligent Oceans’ over the next 6 years. The scholarships are funded for up-to 4 years at UKRI levels (including fees, stipend and additional funds to support research), with the first set of students due to enrol in Autumn 2021.

Intelligent Oceans Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholars (LTDS) will focus on how we could and should engage with the world’s oceans and seas. The programme will bring researchers from different disciplines together to address critical global challenges from alternate perspectives (see Figure). To find out more about the programme and how to apply visit our Scholarship page.


Intelligent Oceans

Diagram  of  Intelligent  Oceans  ‘hub  &  spoke’  structure  –  the  outer  ring  relates  to  example  PhD  project  ‘home’  disciplines  for  illustrative purposes  –  each  hub  could  entertain  projects  from  any  of  the  University’s  Faculties.

The challenges

We currently face the greatest challenges our species has seen in its 300,000 year history; exceeding planetary capacity, anthropogenic climate change, increasing levels of inequality and tension within and between populations.  These challenges are unintended outcomes of actions we have collectively taken.  The Intelligent Oceans LTDS seek to address these challenges and better understand how we could and should engage with one of our greatest assets; the world’s oceans and seas. The oceans and seas are central to human life: 40% of the world’s population live within 100km of it, 90% of our goods are traded across it (generating gigatons of CO2), it regulates our climate and encapsulates both a physical and ideational archive of human life on earth. However, socially, legally and scientifically decision making and knowledge gathering relating to the oceans and seas occurs in a different manner to terrestrial and even extra-terrestrial contexts. This has fragmented knowledge along disciplinary and legislative boundaries, limiting the range of ideas and approaches used.  It has also limited our capacity to imagine and think creatively about different ways of engaging with and knowing the sea.    LTDS will co-create projects to address pivotal challenges facing society through a lens of marine and maritime activity.

The programme is led by Professor Fraser Sturt, Deputy Director of SMMI and Professor of Maritime Archaeology in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. The leadership team is drawn from across the University including, RAEng Chair in Emerging Technologies, Susan Gourvenec (Engineering, FEPS); Damon Teagle (Ocean and Earth Science, FELS); Blair Thornton (Engineering, FEPS); Sabu Padmadas (Demography, FSS); Emily Reid (Law, FSS); Stephanie Jones (English, A&H); Larry Lynch (Art, A&H).


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