To build competence in the industry, the new Centre for Offshore Mechatronics looks to recruit 15 to 20 PhD candidates from NODE companies.

«We need a total of 30 to 40 PhD candidates in the different work packages which the center is comprised of. Our goal is to find half in the industry. This way, we ensure that new knowledge developed in the project will remain in our companies», says Leif Haukom, Chairman of the Board of Center for Offshore Mechatronics and former CEO at MacGregor Pusnes.

PhD candidates are expected to work at the center for 3 to 5 years before returning to their companies.

Center for Offshore Mechatronics is the first Center for Research-based Innovation established in the Agder region. The University of Agder will host the center that has a budget of MNOK 192 over 8 years. The Research Council of Norway provides half of the funding, the rest comes from the industrial and academic partners in the project.

The center will work on topics such as hydraulics, motion compensation, robotics and automation and monitoring. Workshops are conducted to spur a discussion between academia and industry reference groups on the content of the seven work packages.

«It is important to establish what research should focus on», says Haukom.

University of Agder, GCE NODE, Teknova and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are in charge of the different work packages.

Haukom points out the importance of NODE companies’ participation in the project, both by nominating candidates for research positions and by contributing in reference groups.

«Companies should recognize this as an unique opportunity. Research will be guided by the industry to develop the next generation technology. The ultimate goal is remote operation of offshore drilling facilities, which would significantly lower costs», says Haukom.

It is expected that the center will contribute to lowering costs in oil and gas. The Norwegian Minister of Energy and Oil made this very clear, just days after the center was awarded. For NODE companies, the center should be viewed as a tool for maintaining an international competitive edge.