The maritime education and research provided at Chalmers University of Technology is of the highest international standard, according to the first global study undertaken in the field.
This comes as no surprise to those in the division of Maritime Studies on Campus Lindholmen at Chalmers University of Technology.
"We've always hoped and believed that we would be placed high on the list and this is our confirmation. In Sweden we have long had high-quality maritime education and training, and our sailors have a reputation for competence. Over the past ten years we have also worked hard to further develop and improve the quality of the educational programmes," says Fredrik Olindersson, Head of the Division for Maritime Studies at Chalmers.
The International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU), an organisation whose members include more than sixty of the most prominent universities in the field, is behind the study. Chalmers was elected to IAMU in 2016.
"It took over a year to become a member. You have to send in masses of documents, and they carry out site visits to make sure you live up to their high standards. Not just anyone can join. At the last Annual Meeting a couple of new universities joined, but several also applied and were not accepted," Olindersson says.
The study is intended to give IAMU's member universities an idea of where their strengths lie and what they could develop. So the organisation does not provide traditional rankings but confines itself to listing, in alphabetical order, the universities that fall in the upper quartile (top 25%) in the three areas studied.
"Chalmers University of Technology came out top in all the areas studied - global exchange, strength of research and quality of education. What is most striking about the study is that Chalmers is the most well-balanced university. That is Chalmers' strength and one that should be nurtured and further developed," says Takeshi Nakazawa, Executive Director of IAMU.
Olindersson explains that Chalmers is often used as a model for a maritime educational institution around the world and that is why there are so many international visits to Chalmers.
So what is the strength of maritime education and training in Gothenburg?
"In addition to having competent teachers, we are one of the few educational institutions which invests a great deal in simulator education and in the work of simulator instructors. We want to maximise the impact of the expensive time spent in the simulator that forms part of the training."
According to Olindersson, Chalmers University of Technology is far ahead of most others in the world in its educational work on sustainability and the environment. All maritime training in the world complies with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) which governs the minimum standards of training, but like other IAMU members Chalmers offers education and training at a significantly higher level.
"The Heads of Programmes have continuously extended the programmes and have placed much greater emphasis on leadership, communication, critical thinking and sustainability. To improve the eligibility of students, and their employability in the long term, we have also introduced a number of elective courses to the programmes. On the Master Mariner programme students can choose to specialise in passenger and cruise ships, tanker shipping or the offshore sector. The Marine Engineer programme now includes a high voltage element, and there are elective courses in advanced ship operations, marine risks and marine ergonomics."
On the research side, maritime environmental sciences, maritime human factors and marine technology are strong Chalmers areas. Read more about Maritime Studies here.
"Global exchange mainly involves student and teacher exchanges, where we've increased the options in recent years by teaching the final year in English. What sets us apart is that many other universities don't do this. However, we've got several exchange agreements that are working well and another couple are under way that will hopefully lead to more exchanges," Olindersson says.
Swedish simulator centre for shipping Campus Lindholmen houses Sweden's most extensive simulator centre for education and research in shipping. There are a total of nine different simulators here. In the full mission bridge simulators it is possible to carry out complete simulations of the operations performed on a real ship: in different weather conditions, with different types of ships around you and in different areas and ports around the globe, even in narrow straits. Other simulators combine instruments that handle navigation, loading, safety, the engine room and emission control. Together with the Swedish Maritime Administration's simulators the centre currently offers ten ships' bridges, two coastal stations and one maritime rescue coordination centre. Read more here: http://www.
Read more about Maritime Studies at Chalmers here. http://www.