With so many standout sessions at this year’s virtual 15th International Naval Engineering Conference (INEC), and International Ship Control Systems Symposium (iSCSS), delegates were indulged in a multitude of presentations exploring the latest cutting edge developments surrounding disruptive technologies, and how this will shape the future of the naval world.
The conference, which took place between 5th – 9th October, consisted of a series of mixed-format livestreamed sessions (panel discussions, presentations) led by authors and leading figures from the naval engineering and ship control systems communities.
While the change to a digital format was made primarily in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it opened up new opportunities for delegates to engage with and make the most of the week-long event, by use of an event app. This gave participants access to an extensive array of content, including the full conference proceedings and exhibitor information, and facilitated networking with other virtual delegates.
We were thrilled that this new online format opened up the opportunity for a greater number of international delegates and authors to participate in the event. With over 1,000 virtual delegates from more than 56 countries in attendance at this year’s conference, it was by far the most successful in the history of the event, bringing a stronger global voice than ever before.
The conference opened with three keynote speakers, all lynchpin leaders and thinkers in our international Naval Engineering community of military, industry partners, academia and scientists.
Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Director of the Defense Materiel Organisation of The Netherlands, chartered a course for the week’s discussions by illustrating the challenges facing the industry with the proliferation of asymmetric weapons, the application of artificial intelligence in the warfare domain and the ever-increasing need for more energy in our operations. He subsequently addressed how we can start overcoming these challenges through international cooperation between academia, knowledge institutes and the naval & commercial industries.
Sarah Kenny, chief executive of BMT, then took the helm to lay out the impact of these disruptive technologies on Naval Engineering over the next decade, outlining how the naval engineering workforce will need to evolve to adapt to the challenges of disruptive technologies.
The keynotes came to a close with the musings of Rear Admiral Selby, chief of Naval Research of the US Navy, on the future of the US Navy and the importance of realigning naval power with the challenges provided by disruptive technologies. He considered the important role of naval engineers in this challenge and how the Naval Research Enterprise will have an impact over the next decade by research on disruptive technologies.
Over 26 panel discussions were hosted throughout the week, with the authors of the conference’s 87 published papers answering the 452 questions posed by virtual delegates during the Q&A sessions.
The closing session saw INEC Patron, Rear Admiral Nigel Guild conduct a virtual awards ceremony, announcing the winners of both the Sir Donald Gosling Award and the Patron’s Award. Many congratulations to:
Sir Donald Gosling Award 3rd Place Winners:
Thomas Groves & David Capper (BAE Systems Maritime Naval Ships);
Colin Field (Rolls-Royce), Kate Walsh (Thales UK) and William Edge (Steller Systems)
Sir Donald Gosling Award 2nd Place Winners:
Sai Swaroop Sinduluri, Suruchi Rao, Kamar Basha (Ossus Biorenewables)
Sir Donald Gosling 1st Place Winner:
Tamsin Dawe (Babcock International)
Patrons’ Award Winners:
Rick Goddard, Harry Thompson (Steller Systems), James Schofield, David Menzies (Survivability Consulting Ltd), and Steve Marshall (UK MOD).
The closing address from Rear Admiral Paul Marshall, UK Royal Navy’s Director of Acquisition concluded many of the major themes from the conference. He cautioned not to be “over-constrained by old thinking” and emphasised the importance of collaboration - “If you want to innovate, then you need to bring together people that don’t usually have conversations, and enable the right conversations to take place.”
We are thrilled that our virtual format embodied Rear Admiral Marshall’s message, enabling more of these conversations, and bringing together so many delegates and authors from across the global maritime network. Whilst we hope to return to the physical conference for 2022, we will continue to use these new technologies to deliver the event in a hybrid format – increasing our reach and widening participation.
The conference content will remain exclusively available to registered delegates until 31st October.
However, you can still register as an ‘on-demand’ delegate to access all the conference content.