Robert Courts MP - Clean Maritime Summit

A UK Government Minister has been given a demonstration of the University of Plymouth’s world-leading expertise in maritime cyber security and clean maritime innovation.

Robert Courts MP, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, toured the £3.2million Cyber-SHIP Lab which has recently opened in the Marine Building.

He then opened the Clean Maritime Summit 2021, held at our waterfront Marine Station, an event designed to advance the region’s charge towards a net zero ocean economy.

The University engagements were part of a day-long visit to Plymouth, where Mr Courts met officials and businesses working to grow the city’s clean maritime sector.

The Cyber-SHIP Lab is a unique platform, supported by a grant from Research England, which is designed to enhance understanding of maritime systems’ cyber vulnerabilities and deliver world-leading cyber resilience knowledge, tools and training.

Experts in cyber security and information systems will then assess them for weaknesses, and identify the human and technological changes needed to make them secure for the future.

Robert Courts MP - Cyber-SHIP visit
Robert Courts MP - Cyber-SHIP visit
Robert Courts MP - Cyber-SHIP visit

UK Aviation, Maritime and Security Minister’s message of support for Cyber-SHIP Lab

In 2021, Robert Courts MP, Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security opened Cyber-SHIP Lab’ with a message of support and encouragement.

“This unique new research facility will further enhance the University’s world-leading maritime facilities, building on Plymouth’s strong maritime history to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the future maritime sector.”

He added: “I am so pleased that the Cyber-SHIP Lab will play a crucial part in tackling the cyber security challenges facing the shipping industry.”

The Clean Maritime Summit was attended by leading figures from the South West’s marine and maritime industries.

It highlighted existing innovations and initiatives that are already enabling the shift to cleaner ports, harbours and vessels, and identified the present and potential future challenges and opportunities facing the sector and how these might be addressed.

Organised by Maritime UK South West, a consortium in which the University is a partner, the summit was held in partnership with the Green Tech Boat Show, a first of its kind event for boat owners wishing to make the switch to greener options, and prospective owners wanting to start their boating journey in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Robert Courts MP said:

“As we emerge from the pandemic it’s important that our environmental commitments remain at the core of everything we do, helping us build back better and greener. Plymouth has long been at the forefront of green maritime and there is no better place to open the first ever Clean Maritime Summit, bringing together leaders from across the South West to drive forward the shift to cleaner ports, harbours and ships.”

Robert Courts MP - Clean Maritime Summit
Robert Courts MP - Clean Maritime Summit
Robert Courts MP - Clean Maritime Summit

The South West region is also at the forefront of clean maritime innovation, thanks to a number of initiatives supported by Maritime UK South West, the University of Plymouth and various other regional partners.

This included launching the UK’s first sea-going electric ferry in Plymouth in 2020, the first in a series of electric vessels set to transform maritime transport around the waters of Plymouth Sound.

It is also home to Smart Sound Plymouth, Britain’s premier proving area for designing, testing and developing cutting edge products and services for the marine sector, and the next generation of advanced marine technologies.

Kevin Forshaw
Kevin Forshaw, Director of Industrial and Strategic Partnerships

Kevin Forshaw, Director of Industrial and Strategic Partnerships at the University and Vice-Chair of Maritime UK SW, added:

“The challenge is considerable but the opportunity is huge. We have a considerable marine leisure sector in the South West which could take a lead by delivering electric charging points, enabling electric ferries and smaller vessel a foothold in order to then sell to the rest of the world. We also have a huge opportunity to use floating offshore wind as a source of power for ports and shipping, enabling the much needed shift away from heavy diesel for shipping in the longer term. If we can make this shift early, and secure additional government support, we can ensure the South West retains a pristine ocean environment while also reinvigorating our economy.”

THE Impact Rankings SDG14 Life Below Water 2021 Top 10 large

World leaders

We are ranked the number one university globally for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 14: life below water.

The award recognises the quality of our marine research and teaching as well as our efforts to reduce the impact of campus activities on the marine environment. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learn more about our rankings

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021: life below water

Clean maritime research and innovation

The University of Plymouth is among the UK’s leading proponents of clean maritime research and innovation.

It is conducting research in fields as varied as maritime cyber and marine autonomy, advanced engineering and the arts, biological and environmental science and Big Data.

Through engagement with business and the wider scientific community, it is pioneering new ways of transforming this research into practical solutions to challenges being faced across the marine and maritime sectors.

It is also harnessing the capability of new and existing technology within this sphere, including looking into the development and application of autonomous marine systems to advance our understanding of the ocean.

CETUS survey work with HydroSurv
The University is continuing to forge new areas of clean maritime research and drive debate around how they can be applied effectively and collaboratively