At the end of last week, M.V. Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University hosted a meeting between Research and Training Center «Russian Arctic: New Materials, Technologies, and Research Methods» and United Shipbuilding Corporation (JSC).
Russia’s largest player in shipbuilding industry, United Shipbuilding Corporation is a group of 40 companies — design bureaus, dedicated research centers, shipyards, ship repair and machine engineering enterprises — that comprise a vast part of the domestic shipbuilding.
The meeting, which was an online video conference, was attended by USC Vice-President Vasily Boitsov, the corporation’s key member companies, and rectors of universities that deal with civil and military shipbuilding.
«We see shipbuilding as a core field of activity within this world-class research and training center. And we would like to focus our efforts on developing the technologies and the materials for marine engineering, surface ships and submersible craft for operation in high latitudes. This implies a constructive dialogue with shipyards,» Elena Kudryashova said in her opening speech.
The idea to promote constructive dialogue was supported by Vasily Boitsov, USC Vice-President. He proposed a series of areas to pursue collaborative efforts in.
«We welcome the idea of setting up a Russian shipbuilding school. This school should build on fundamental research and be able to provide the industries with cutting-edge solutions and materials. To invigorate shipbuilding, we need more research and innovative solutions. They are crucial to our resilience and ability to achieve projects such as oil-fueled icebreakers, ice-resistant drilling platforms, floating power units and Arc7 ships, among others. Disruptive solutions are crucial to Russia’s leadership position in the Arctic region,» said Vasily Boitsov.
That view was echoed by the rectors. Each of the participating universities has a history of partnership relations with USC and its own developments to offer.
To give a few examples of the partnership relations, PROMETEY Central Research Institute of Structural Materials — Kurchatov Institute teamed up with USC’s Severodvinsk-based shipyards for a line of multifunctional structural materials with increased strength and resistance to corrosion, mechanical damage and brittle, that are going to be developed with Research and Training Centre. These new materials are expected to be used in the construction of high-capacity manned underwater craft and durable subsea stations to support the deep sea mining operations.
At St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University, work is being pursued on introducing additive technologies into repair of naval and civil ships.
However, the Arctic development is not only about building ships and mining technologies. It requires safe and environmentally friendly transport and navigation along the Northern Sea Route. Work is in process at MEPhI National Nuclear Research University to develop a high-capacity device for converting nuclear decay energy into electricity as an element of small-size radioisotope-powered generators for remote telemetry and monitoring of the Northern Sea Route, as well as remote applications for space exploration and oil and gas infrastructure. Other applications being developed by MEPhI team include remote diagnostics of marine engines and related equipment.
Sevastopol State University is working on the systems for integrated operational environmental monitoring that use Arctic sea and ice instrumentation platforms, a project in a series of projects towards enhanced Arctic development and national security. These systems are designed to enable the fast-tracking of even slightest changes related to human activity in the Arctic.
Universities remain a key source of training and qualifications in shipbuilding industry. NArFU, and its unique system of interaction with the industry, comes as an important asset. Its Institute of Shipbuilding and Arctic Marine Engineering (formerly known as SevmashVTUZ) is the only school in Russia that practices time-proven training scheme «Shipyard-VTUZ», that comes with guaranteed employment and equips learners with occupational qualifications not only in the classroom, but also on the yards.
«By consolidating projects into clusters under the guidance of the Research and Training Center, we’ll be able to concentrate more intellectual resources and deal with the current challenges before shipbuilders more effectively. I am convinced that the Center has all it takes to be a generator of disruptive solutions,» Elena Kudryashova summed up.
The meeting participants have resolved to meet again soon for bilateral negotiations on the content of the projects.