Monthly news bulletin issue 8/2015

Prof. Richard CleggWelcome to this our August newsletter from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. We only send it out to those that have requested and subscribe to it, and are pleased that the circulation is now approaching 1,000 people. We look forward to the number growing even larger as we continue to ramp up the activities and impact of the Foundation. The year ahead is going to see a significant further increase in our grant giving activities, which will present new opportunities for our grants community and beneficiaries. 

At the end of the day, the Foundation is here to further its charitable aims, essentially to enhance the safety of life and property and advance public education. It’s important therefore that we are able to track the impact and ultimate benefit to society of the work we support. Consequently, we are always open to information and case studies relating to the impact of the work we are able to fund, and would love to share and advertise them in future newsletters. 

In this newsletter we’ve got a broad cross section of news covering the different areas in our strategy, including education, research, and public outreach. I hope you find it informative and inspirational. As always, there’s more information on our website and social media if you’d like to learn more about some of the stories.

Good reading
Richard

Funding to improve STEM teaching and learning

We are pleased that our grant to the UK’s National Space Academy (NSA) has supported STEM master classes for some 6,700 school students and also enabled over 2,000 hours of intensive training for over 800 primary and secondary school teachers across the UK. As a consequence of this success and building on our support, the UK NSA has also been invited to deliver similar programmes for the European Space Agency (ESA) as well as for the European Geophysical Union and for Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Watch this video to see the good work of the ESA summer teachers workshop held in the Netherlands. 

Lloyd's Register mentors for our TWI Phd studentships 

As reported in earlier newsletters, the Foundation is a founding sponsor of NSIRC (National Structural Integrity Research Centre) postgraduate research and education centre in structural integrity based near Cambridge in the UK. NSIRC is being led and managed by TWI (The Welding Institute) using funding already secured from other sources (totalling £62 million) to build and equip a world-leading, state of the art research and postgraduate education facility. The Foundation's grants will sponsor a minimum of 83 students on research topics to be specified by the Foundation with industrial guidance including from our trading arm Lloyd's Register Group. Although UK based, NSIRC will be at the centre of a global network and host students and researchers internationally. 

To date, each of the Foundation sponsored PhD studentships at NSIRC has been supported by an industrial mentor in addition to the academic and industrial supervisors provided by NSIRC and the awarding university. The role of the industrial mentor is to guide the direction of the research towards a route to impact that will benefit society. 

The educational benefits of this to our sponsored students is evidenced by the fact that one of our LRF sponsored PhD students at NSIRC, Peyman Amarishafari, visited a shipyard in Ancona (Italy) in July, to gain an understanding into the challenges associated with inspection of welds in a large maritime structure during the construction process. Peyman was able to see first-hand the process of ship construction and how the integrity of a ship is assured. During the visit Peyman was able to collect input from two of the key stakeholders in ship construction; the shipyard and the classification society.

We’re grateful that the visit was arranged by Peyman’s mentor Martyn Wright; lead specialist in Non-Destructive Testing in the Lloyd's Register Southampton (UK) Global Technology Centre. Lloyd's Register has volunteered the time of its specialist engineers to mentor the NSIRC based PhD studentships towards impacts that will make the world a safer place.

Robotics and autonomous systems

Robot handsThe Foundation will develop its next foresight review on the topic of robotic and autonomous systems. Such systems can perceive environments, reason about events, make and revise plans and control actions. The Foundation’s report will examine how such systems can be developed safely, and how they might contribute to safety by reducing risk and extending capabilities, with a view to guiding the Foundation's grant giving in this area. The Foundation welcomes any initial views from its community at info@lrfoundation.org.uk

Project Undaunted 

Old wreck registersAs reported previously, the Foundation is the custodian of over 250 years of LR archive material, which forms a unique educational resource. To put this material to work for the wider benefit of society in line with the Foundation’s charitable aims, we’re piloting a project looking at its digitisation. This is part of a larger programme codenamed 'Project Undaunted' setting a long-term vision for the future of the archive. Undaunted is the name of the ship in our archive that we have the earliest survey material for from London in 1834. Given the scale of the heritage collection’s undertaking, it is quite appropriate to name the project after the ship. Project Undaunted encompasses not only the digitisation project but also the related issues of the storage and conservation of this unique, important archival collection. 

To resource Project Undaunted, the Foundation has funded two people to begin cataloguing the enormous amount of material in the archive. Work is also progressing on other fronts of the project, including investigating how to digitally display the images and data on the website, selection of the best available digitisation technology and suppliers, and issuing an online survey to link with potential end-user audiences to inform the design process. 

A small number of imaging companies which we shortlisted have now returned their images from the small test batch of LR’s material. The test batches will be used to select providers so that the Information Centre can determine their recommended supplier. The investigation into the material we hold has also continued and the end is in sight for those who have been estimating the size of the collection, which is important to determine projected costs and timelines. Accompanying the auditing process is our monstrous list of innovative and historical ships that were classed by Lloyds Register throughout the nineteenth & twentieth century, which we now have (hopefully!) finished. 

Strides have continued to be made in social media and blogging, with followers reaching 226 and the blog surpassing 2,000 views from 64 different countries. Take a look to see the plethora of new correspondences, photographs and seals that have been discovered during auditing.

Blog: www.lrdigitisation.wordpress.com, Twitter: @LR_InfoCentre, Join the conversation by using the hashtag #ProjectUndaunted

Get in contact and join in The Conversation

We reported in the July newsletter that the Foundation has awarded a significant grant for a new science cditor post at The Conversation, a news website where every article is a collaboration between an academic and a journalist.  As reported, over 20,000 academics and researchers have written for The Conversation covering a wide range of topics, enabling them to share their research with a broad and public audience. The grant fits with the elements of the Foundation’s strategy concerned with public education and also promoting public understanding of risk. Because of The Conversation's already established network, we’d be very interested to hear if any of our wider grants community has previously written for them as we would very much like to hear about your experience.  Part of the role of the cditor will be to go out to universities and run courses on writing for a public audience and we will be in touch at a later date to share more on this.

RNLI open their new all-weather centre

RNLI centreThe Foundation was pleased to be represented at the launch of the RNLI’s new All-Weather Centre at their Poole, UK headquarters on Friday 21 August. Eileen Kinghan, LRF Grants Manager, attended the event to celebrate bringing manufacturing of their all-weather lifeboats in-house. The impressive new facility is custom-built and allows complete control over design, cost and production time, saving the RNLI over £3 million each year. Lifeboat production had been threatened by the reduction in the pool of suppliers capable of building the boats to the life-saving charity’s exact specifications. The launch event included a tour of the Centre, which includes an area where visitors can view work in progress. The Foundation’s funding trains 288 RNLI crew members each year, ensuring they have the skills to stay safe at sea and save others.