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Post Info TOPIC: Visionary Concepts for Vessels and Floating Structures


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Visionary Concepts for Vessels and Floating Structures
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Visionary Concepts for Vessels and Floating Structures




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Background & policy context

Europe’s maritime industry has an impressive track record of being competitive with leading edge innovations. However, to defend this position in a globalizing world, long term market, society and technology challenges must be identified and tackled as early as possible. Most companies know fairly well how the next generation of products will look like, which they would offer in the coming years. They do invest today into the development of such products of tomorrow. But in the usual business environment there are often neither further resources nor focus to develop already future ideas for "the day after the day after tomorrow" as well and thus to identify market and R&D challenges early enough for market dominance.

The project has been implemented to organise a systematic, scenario-based, pre-competitive 'think tank' process to increase the number of ideas for potential products, validate them and identify possible necessary R&D efforts early enough to be prepared for future needs. The scenarios, which were input for the annual 'ideas contest' and which were created with the help of professional users, enable a link to business reality.

Objectives

VISIONS had been created by major industry and science stakeholders of the European shipbuilding and maritime industry as a "Network of Excellence (NoE)" under the 6th Framework Program to establish a sustainable "over the horizon" view in the pre-competitive phase, with the main objectives:

  • to strengthen the European scientific and technological capability to develop innovative concepts for the products of the future, by developing a mechanism which involves all shareholders and combines scientific excellence with market needs
  • to contribute to the exploration of new market segments with a competitive advantage for European shipbuilders
  • to contribute to the solution of medium and long term transport related problems, like the congestion of roads and cities, environmental and safety hazards
  • to generate and assess more visionary concepts (potential products and projects for the next (5)-15 years) and thus to act as the sector's "periscope" beyond the today's and tomorrow's regular business and development horizon
  • to activate the potential of young talents in pre-occupation stage for generating more visionary concepts
  • to encourage scenario based thinking about future possibilities ("think tank")
  • to facilitate a closer link between industry and academia and more industry-relevant challenges for research institutes and universities
  • to foster an early identification of knowledge gaps and kick-off of respective R+D
    initiatives necessary for future challenges and step changes.

Methodology

VISONS has implemented an annual process (called "innovation loop") for the definition, assessment and validation of visionary concepts for vessels and floating structures, structured in 5 Business Areas: Maritime Tourism / Leisure, Short Sea Shipping, Inland Shipping, Deep Sea Shipping, Floating Infrastructures and based on challenges, presented by 9 professional market and society scenarios per Business Area, which were generated within the VISIONS innovation loop process.

The annual process ('innovation loop') had the following elements:

  • Creation of professional market and society scenarios by a dedicated scenario group including external key user interviews.
  • A 'call for ideas' answering the scenario challenges to student teams from the European maritime industry. The best five to seven ideas were short-listed by the core partners and were further investigated.
  • Evaluation of the short-listed tasks done according to identified tasks and by selected experts (tender process). Compilation of a comprehensive report per idea (including 'distance to market').
  • Selection of three winners by a high-level industry jury, with an industry-sponsored contest award and the presentation of all ideas ('showcase').
The annual Call for Ideas, open for student teams of Europe’s Maritime Universities, asked to respond the challenging scenarios by a "Concept outline", a structured professional description of an idea. This was done without the expectation, that all engineering or commercial aspects of the ideas would already have been investigated thoroughly by the proposing team. The most interesting proposals, in total 25 nominated by the NoE partners, were subject to feasibility and engineering reviews performed by scientific experts of Europe’s Maritime Universities, who offered the required services in an annual tender process for 7 Expertise Fields:
  • Market+Society Needs
  • Technical Feasibility+Design
  • Production Equipment+Systems
  • Operation+Security
  • Infrastructure+Logistics
  • Safety+Environment.


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RE: Visionary Concepts for Vessels and Floating Structures
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