£1.2million to strengthen University’s capabilities in safety engineering

£1.2million to strengthen University’s capabilities in safety engineering

The University of Aberdeen today (Friday 5 June) announces further strengthening of its world class research and teaching in safety engineering, following £1.2 million of funding from the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (LRET).

The funding from the LRET, an independent charity, will support the appointments of a new Chair and Research Fellow in Safety and Reliability Engineering, over the next five years.

Two three-year PhD student positions and 15 Master of Science (MSc) in Safety and Reliability scholarships will also be created.

The programme of work undertaken by these academics, will aim to reduce the toll of over 200 industrial fatalities1 which occur in the UK annually, alongside a much larger number worldwide and numerous non-fatal accidents, by building understanding and knowledge in the area of safety and reliability.

The announcement underlines the University's position as an international centre of excellence in safety engineering.

This first became a focus for the institution with the appointment of its inaugural Chair in Safety Engineering in 1990, Professor Michael Baker.

Professor Baker's position was initially funded by industry in the wake of the Piper Alpha disaster.  He retired from the Chair position in 2006 although he is still actively involved with the University as a Professor Emeritus.

The new Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Chair of Safety and Reliability Engineering will focus on research to enhance understanding of the safety measures required to meet the current and future demands of the sector which is rapidly expanding in areas including subsea engineering and renewable energy.

Welcoming the funding, Professor Albert Rodger, Vice Principal & Head of the College of Physical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen said: "We thank the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust for the generous support of our vision to further enhance the University of Aberdeen's position as a world leader in the field of safety and reliability engineering.

"Significant developments in areas including subsea engineering and renewable energy technologies mean the industry is facing new challenges requiring a better understanding of the reliability of production systems and the hazards to humans and the natural environment.

"The University is well placed to transform how safety and reliability engineering is both taught and applied in the field due to our extensive links with industry.  Our commitment to the subject is reflected in our strong history of high quality research by internationally acclaimed academics in this field. 

"The discipline is also firmly embedded as a core part of our undergraduate engineering courses with the aim of fostering vital new talent to ensure future development in this area of industry research.

"The appointment of the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Chair in Safety and Reliability Engineering will create a focal point for the continuing international development of teaching and research, delivering a significant impact on safety and reliability engineering theory and practice across borders and industrial sectors."

Michael Franklin, Director of the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust said: "The University of Aberdeen joins other centres of excellence in the UK and abroad that are receiving total funding in excess of £12million from the LRET to achieve advances in transportation, science, engineering and technology education and research for the public benefit. We are pleased to welcome the University to our network and look forward to a close and constructive relationship."

Recruitment for the Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Chair in Safety and Reliability Engineering has begun and an appointment is expected to be made before the end of the year. 

The Research Fellow and PhD student appointments will be made in 2010.

Three Master of Science (MSc) Lloyd's Register Educational Trust scholarships will be awarded annually over the next five years to students entering postgraduate degrees in Safety and Reliability Engineering at the University.  The first three of these scholarships will be awarded in September 2010.