Argyll, Scotland, 9-10-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) has been announced as a partner in a £2.5m Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in the use of ‘robotic’ smart and autonomous observation systems (SAOS) for the environmental sciences.
Known as NEXUSS – ‘NEXt generation Unmanned System Science’ – the CDT was launched today (Tuesday) by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
It will provide specialised training in this increasingly vital area, creating a community of highly skilled people whose expertise will contribute both to scientific breakthroughs and to economic growth.
Other partners on the consortium, which is led by the University of Southampton, are: British Antarctic Survey, Heriot-Watt University, the National Oceanography Centre and the University of East Anglia. The consortium will fund training for three annual intakes of ten PhD students each, starting in 2016.
Dr Finlo Cottier, head of Phyics and Technology at SAMS said: “I am delighted that SAMS, which hosts the Scottish Marine Robotics Facility, will play an important part in in this CDT. Technology has become key to answering science questions that impact on how we safeguard, use and live with the marine environment.”
Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC chief executive, said: “Smart observation systems are an exciting and innovative field in which the UK has world-class capabilities; I am delighted that NERC is investing in the skills needed to maintain this position. We have made major investments in SAOS in recent years, and this CDT will produce the expertise to ensure future researchers can take advantage of these investments, using new technologies to address the environmental challenges we face and support growth across the UK economy.”
Professor Philip Nelson EPSRC’s chief executive, said: “Centres for Doctoral Training are extremely popular with students and industry alike as they address real- world challenges and skills needs. EPSRC is pleased to be working with NERC to support the NEXUSS CDT as it will cover areas such as robotics and autonomous systems which are firmly within our remit.”
Innovative sensor platforms such as RPAs and AUVs play an increasingly important role in environmental science, carrying out tasks from monitoring air pollution to exploring the deep ocean.
These systems can cover vast areas and stay in place for long periods; they are already letting scientists gather far more data than ever before. They can also be sent to places traditionally considered too difficult or dangerous for humans to work, potentially opening up whole new fields of inquiry.
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA
T: 01631 559000
F: 01631 559001