The European maritime industry launched the European Research Association “Vessels for the Future” with its first general assembly on 5 November 2014. “I am happy to see 50 companies, research institutes, academic organisations and interested associations joining this initiative,” said Dr. Pierre C. Sames (DNV GL), Chairman of the Research Association. “The initiative will promote and facilitate maritime research, development and innovation with a focus on vessels and waterborne operations”.
Looking towards 2050, Europeans will be using their maritime and inland waterways space for transport; offshore food production, energy generation, mineral exploitation as well as for urban dwelling; tourism; manufacturing; and trade. This calls for ambitious emission reductions and meeting stricter safety requirements with the advent of new technologies and operation scenarios. This also requires training of highly specialized manufacturing and operating personnel to use new vessels and systems and provide services in this future waterborne environment.
The European Commission’s Transport White Paper has as its central aim the need to deliver a competitive and resource efficient transport system for Europe. The new European Research Association “Vessels for the Future” will address the European policies of Transport, Enterprise, Energy, Environment and Climate Protection within the framework of Horizon 2020, building on the expertise of the WATERBORNE European Technology Platform and the wider maritime community.
In the European waterborne industry strategy – LeaderSHIP 2020 – the European Commission, Member States, Regions and the maritime technology industry concluded that to improve the global position and competiveness of the waterborne sector it is necessary to launch a major integrated initiative aiming at breakthrough technologies. In response, “Vessels for the Future” will target the societal challenge of moving towards sustainable transport whilst at the same time maintaining the cutting edge design, manufacturing and innovative production capacities. This will have a positive impact on employment and the global competitiveness of the European economy.
To implement the above, “Vessels for the Future” has set itself the goal to enter into a contractual Public Private Partnership with the European Commission. “With the establishment of ‘Vessels for the Future’ as a Research Association we are demonstrating that our goal is receiving widespread support from the wider maritime community,” Pierre C. Sames stated at the General Assembly. “We look forward to working with the European Commission to conclude the exchanges and bring this initiative into action.”