This project began at Berkeley in 1990 with the support of about 15 different sponsors representing oil-tanker owners, shipbuilders, ship classification societies, and government agencies. The consortium had an annual budget of about $450,000 to study the structural maintenance of oil tankers. This project was completed in 1993 but has been replaced by a series of smaller projects. There are usually four or five projects every year, with four sponsors for each who contribute $15,000 apiece.
These consortia are models of how to provide industry support to universities. The money provided supports research facilities and graduate students throughout their dissertations. Most important, a link is established between industry and the university so that research is relevant to both academic and commercial interests.
The examples above highlight current efforts to support education in NA&ME. What they do not provide is a unified approach to the problem. A possible forum for a unified effort is the Education Committee of SNAME. The overall society membership comes from all aspects of NA&ME. Although the committee currently has members from both industry and academia, there is only one member from a government agency. The current interests of the committee are licensing naval architects and marine engineers, continuing education in NA&ME, and accreditation of university programs in NA&ME. To be effective as a public-private-academic partnership to strengthen the teaching of NA&ME, representation is needed from government agencies, and support of education must become a primary focus.
Other efforts to support education in NA&ME include Panel 9, Education and Training, of the NSRP. Although the emphasis of the panel is on shipyard training, there have been efforts to promote the teaching of ship production in universities (see Appendix D).
It has already been noted that, as modest as the demand is for naval architects and ocean engineers, the supply is even poorer. The perception of bad times in the industry has outrun reality, and the pool of interested young people is inadequate to meet the current demands of industry and government. ONR has had difficulty finding outstanding college seniors interested in applying for existing fellowships. A fundamental approach to these problems would involve addressing students in high school or even earlier. Since that might require an effort beyond the scope of these agencies, an alternative might be a campaign to attract undergraduates from other fields of engineering. One model for doing this is the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Of course,