Danish university programs are quite structured — students take a program of study at the bachelor’s or master’s level and focus on the coursework within that program, with few opportunities to deviate from a set path of study. Universities are generally not residential, students are often older and more established in a home life, and extracurricular activities can be limited – particularly ones with an academic driver. SDU has an additional barrier to cooperation across programs as they are spread across 5 physical locations in Jutland and Fyn.

Environmental and resource economics is by its nature an interdisciplinary field, so within its programs of study, there can be a mix of social science and natural science courses pertaining to environmental management, for example. But students (and professors) don’t have that much opportunity to meet and collaborate with students from other relevant and interesting fields. In today’s fast-changing world, academia in general also wants very much to connect more with real-world enterprises and challenges.

In 2014, to address the lack of connectivity amongst faculty working on marine and maritime issues, we launched Blue SDU. That has spawned collaborative research such as discussed on other posts here at mereconomics on ballast water.

In 2016 we have worked to expand this connectivity to students and industry. We received a generous grant from the Danish Maritime Fund to pursue this goal with a pilot program of a Student Think Tank Challenge.

Faculty supporting the student think tank with their time and expertise are coming from the following departments:

Department of Environmental and Business Economics

Department of Law

Department of Marketing and Management

Department of Public Health (Center for Maritime Health and Safety)

Department of Technology and Innovation

This week, we have students from several different academic programs at SDU spending the week together in Faaborg, DK working on a challenge for the maritime industry: how do boat-builders and users see the integration of on-board technology in smaller vessels progressing, and what can be done to improve the integration of technology with the user experience across all aspects of vessel acquisition and ownership? The challenge is contextualized and supported with a case by Tuco Marine and with help from the Maritime Cluster Funen.

Programs represented by the students:

Economics and Business Administration (Bachelors)

Economics and Business Administration (Masters)

Environmental and Business Economics

Global Management and Manufacturing Engineering

Marine Science

Maritime Technology

Public Health

The students will present their results at the Danish Maritime Fair in Copenhagen next week. We are looking forward to seeing what a little intense interdisciplinary marine and maritime collaboration can do! Stay tuned…

Students brave Danish autumn weather to bike off to the beginning of the Think Tank Challenge Week