Principal areas of research

Most doctoral research falls within one of the following topics, but the WMU programme also offers excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary projects, allowing doctoral candidates to pursue their own, and their organization’s, particular interests.

Maritime Administration: Law, Policy and Security

This research area covers the legislative, regulatory, and enforcement roles of governments and administrations in the context of specific problems facing the maritime industry. These include security, law of the sea, seafarer’s rights, labour standards, marine environmental law, and other issues in the public or private domain with a direct impact on the development of maritime law and policy. Recent research projects include comparative analyses of the Rotterdam Rules and a critical evaluation of the international legal framework for piracy and other unlawful acts at sea.

Maritime Energy

Energy management and efficiency, renewable energy and technological innovation underpin the work of this group, which aims to provide solutions that help the international maritime community to achieve a sustainable and low-carbon industry. The group’s research focuses on the fundamental understanding of energy and applying this understanding across the field from ships to ports, and from offshore structures to shipyards, to ensure the cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly use of resources.

Marine Environmental Research (MER Group)

This research area covers environmental management issues in coastal and ocean areas, particularly those related to maritime sectors such as shipping. Interdisciplinary issues involving oceanography, pollution, and ecosystem-based management also fall within this area of research. Recent projects include ballast water management issues, including invasive species; PSSAs; oil spill contingency planning; marine mammals and shipping; climate change and integrated coastal and ocean management.

Maritime Risk and System Safety (MaRiSa Group)

This research group specializes in developing multi-disciplinary research angles in the area of maritime risk governance and management with a special focus on maritime safety and human-related issues. Technical developments, such as the concept of e-navigation or the use of simulation to help maritime risk assessment are also considered. The group has been very active over a long period in a wide range of EU-funded projects including MarNIS, ADOPTMAN, IMPACT and TeamSafety, as well as other projects such as ProGreenShipOperation and research on SAR for passenger ships.

Maritime Technology and Education

The research area covers both technical developments in the shipping industry and their relation to maritime educational processes, maritime human resource management and cultural, gender and linguistic issues. It includes interdisciplinary work linking technical innovation and education, such as simulation training, information/communication technology and organizational knowledge management. Recent activities include the development of IMO model courses on energy-efficient ship operation, the establishment of accreditation systems within the wider scope of quality management in maritime education, collaborative learning in maritime education, educational psychology, inter-cultural psychology, communication and human factors, women seafarers and identity management, and organizational learning in shipping companies.

Ocean Policy and Management

This research area offers opportunities to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the interconnected global social-ecological coastal and ocean system, and to support the achievement of international goals for sustainable ocean governance and responsible ocean business practice. It is designed for those concerned with the economic, social and environmental health and sustainability of coastal and ocean environments. Areas of research include, among others: understanding changing coastal and ocean ecosystems; investigating the blue economy and sustainable ocean business practices; examining regional social and economic trends and their impacts on ocean health and sustainability; analyzing the management and effectiveness of marine protected areas; contributing to integrated coastal defense strategies; supporting climate change adaptation; and advancing the international legal framework for the ocean.

Shipping and Port Management

This research area explores all areas of shipping and port management, and offers the chance of carrying out in-depth investigation within the fields of maritime economics, ship or port operations and management, and shipping and port policy, as well as in the related fields of logistics, ship finance, cargo handling, and port governance.