M. Vervoort, W. Maes, S. Bueken

Antwerp Maritime Academy (BELGIUM)
The AMA offers programs in Nautical Sciences and Maritime Engineering. When possible, students are invited to assist with the individual projects. These projects also provide the participating academy members with tenure and promotion opportunities.

The research of marine engineering at the Antwerp Maritime Academy (BELGIUM) is to enable marine engineering students to integrate technical knowledge encompassing social skills (teamwork, cooperation, planning, decision making, problem-solving abilities, communication skills…).

The present benefit of scientific research implemented with project research learning for the training of the marine engineers resulting in the graduate degree of ‘professional bachelor in marine engineering’ will be discussed.

At Antwerp Maritime Academy (AMA) this can be illustrated by the benefit of scientific research on projects like ‘Optimisation of the solar vessel for the participation of the international competitions of 2018-2020’ and the project called ‘Design and optimization of a low-cost solar Organic Rankine Cycle for power generation’. The technical focus on the optimization of the solar vessel lies in the capacity to build with minimal power a solar vessel available in the A-class and which can sail on foils and still be adequate maneuverable. The ‘design and optimization of a low-cost solar Organic Rankine Cycle for power generation’ project focuses to the investigation of several methods to explore if an ORC cycle can be built with thermic panels and with sufficient performance rate for implementation in the future solar vessel.

During their study the students deal with issues in marine engineering but also with different teamwork-related issues as, leadership, team capabilities, common purpose, team norms, communication, conflicts, team operating procedures, member integration. These activities are distributed across the curricula, considering a long-term deployment.

The training in technical and non-technical capabilities helps our students to set the pattern to become successful life-long learners.

Results show that undergraduate students are involved, enhance understanding, improve retention, become proficient in problem solving, self-directed learning, build decision criteria and team participation (cooperate rather than compete).

The interrelationship between education and (practical) research and its specific application to marine engineering are an interesting example for conference participants, especially for those who want to obtain a deeper understanding of how innovation can be nurtured by education that is in itself supported, cultivated and strengthened by (practically-based) scientific research.