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Network of Excelence on Marine Structures

The objective of the network, which has a duration of five years, is to improve the comfort, effectiveness, safety, reliability and environmental behaviour of ship structures. This objective will be achieved by strengthening the European competitiveness aiming at a permanent organisation of a type of virtual institute, which will ensure the integration of the various European groups in a European centre of competence for the structural analysis of ships with improved safety, environmental behaviour and comfort.

Tags: Water


To improve the sustainability of Europe’s transportation systems, the increased use of waterborne vehicles will be particularly important in transferring freight movement from roads and passenger movement from land-based and air transportation systems.

The safety and reliability of ships is much lower than that of land-based structures or aeroplanes, and this needs to be improved for the safety of passengers and crews, and to gain the confidence of companies relying on transporting their goods by ship. However, increases in safety need to be carefully justified; otherwise they will not be accepted.

Europe is leading the world in the building of large cruise ships. Europe is also head-to-head in competition in high-speed craft design and building with the non-EU industry, especially from Australia and the Far East.

Therefore, passenger safety on board these vessels is of paramount importance for the European designers, builders and operators. Moreover, foreseeable accidents, where personnel or cargo are lost or delayed, will not encourage freight agencies to use ships in place of road transportation. It is therefore important to the EC strategy that ships are designed, built and operated to be reliable and safe.


The overall objective is to improve the comfort, effectiveness, safety, reliability and environmental behaviour of ship structures through the application of advanced structural and reliability assessment within design, fabrication and operation, leading to increased public and commercial confidence in the competitiveness and use of waterborne transportation.

The objective will be achieved through a programme of jointly executed research in the area of structural analysis of ships, the creation of research facilities and platforms, and a continuous programme of dissemination and communication of research results. The way in which the programme is designed contributes to the mutual specialisation and complementarity through building up strengths and reducing weaknesses amongst the participants.

Description of work

The activities of the network will cover the different areas related to advanced structural analysis such as:

  • specification of the loading appropriate for the various modes of structural response and strength
  • methods and tools for the analysis, both numerically and experimentally, of the structural strength and performance, including aspects such as ultimate strength, fatigue, crashworthiness, fire and explosion, resistance, and noise and vibration
  • influence of fabrication methods, and new and advanced materials on the structural strength and performance of ships
  • tools for design and optimisation of ship structures
  • tools and methods of structural reliability, safety and environmental protection of ships.


The results of the work will be made available to the public through publications which can be found in the project website: