Intelligent Marine systems - a Pathway towards sustAinable eduCation, knowledge and empowerment




Name: Intelligent Marine systems - a Pathway towards sustAinable eduCation, knowledge and empowerment

Acronym: IMPACT

Funding scheme: ERASMUS + KA2
Total budget: 266.618,00 EUR

The total budget for UNIZG-FER : 30.438,00 EUR
Start date: 01/11/2018

Duration: 27 months and 18 days
Coordinator: Universität Bremen 
UNIZG-FER LABUST status: partner

Web page:



The European Commission has estimated that the economic impact of the “blue” economy, which considers all activities linked to the sea, is worth more than 400 billion € annually, with more than 150 billion € in activities directly related to marine activities. Additionally, marine systems (considering autonomous vehicles in the underwater, surface or aerial domain, as well as sensor systems) in HEI can significantly contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda set by all UN countries. This project brings together eight key HEIs in Europe for a two-year cooperation in the field of marine systems with the aim of:

  • Creating a sustainable, international, and cross-field network in the area, to foster cooperation, exchange of good practice and innovative approaches, providing a platform to discuss key topics in the area, linking them to the UN SDGs;
  • Creating novel study material in the field of marine systems- Fostering entrepreneurship mindset and creative thinking;- Bridging the gap between academia and industry, making the two worlds working closer;
  • Creating occasions for students to participate in international Intensive Study Programs, with renowned speakers;


1. Excellence

LABUST research group holds expertise in marine robotics: development and adaptation of marine vehicles; acoustic networks and sonars; identification, navigation, guidance and control of marine vessels; cooperative and coordinated formations of marine vehicles. In the last 5 years the group has also participated in other 6 international and 3 national projects related to marine robotics. The LABUST group has experience in developing guidance and control software for industry (VideoRay, USA; LD TravOcean, France). LABUST is a light member of HYCON2 network of excellence. They have organized 11 annual field trainings “Breaking the Surface” with the purpose of conducting multidisciplinary research within marine biology, archaeology and security.


2. Impact

Desired impact of the project is a staff more aware of sustainability and its relation with science and education, better education and a more comprehensive approach for students. We expect to start short courses for industry based on the study course which will be developed in the project, and this will lead to reinforced academia-industry cooperation, more effective transfer of knowledge and potentially even significant financial impact for the overall society (e.g. new products, new processes, optimized processes, better results, drop of cost, etc.)

Also this project will be a laboratory of innovation which will inspire other institutions to act similarly, not only in the field of marine system, but in any other topic. Each partner has a very strong network both inside their nation, and internationally and the frequent updates will encourage other institutions to take similar steps introducing sustainability aspects in their curricula, reinforcing academia-industry cooperation, putting some extra efforts for student-centric activities and student empowerment.


3. Implementation - Goals and Achievements

I. Project meetings:

December 2018: Kick-off meeting in Bremen, Germany - Main Topic: Employability - a discussion about how the current courses link the students to potential companies and employers will bring concrete recommendation about the active involvement of industries and companies.

May 2019: project meeting in Tallinn, Estonia - Main Topic: Education, Teaching & Research - teaching modules and approaches across the partners were presented to help identify synergies and best practices; ways to integrate the teaching and the research aspects were discussed to foster a virtuous system of reciprocal reinforcing.

October 2019: project meeting in Zagreb, Croatia

                     Main Topic: Gender Equality - a discussion about current strategy and new options to                                 reduce the gender unbalance, which is still quite high in the robotics field, the                                          meating brought a concrete action plan and recommendations for future actions                                       remedy this inequality.



II. Intelectual outputs:

1. Study Course Marine Systems (O1)

This is a 8-day study course, aimed at university students, from BSc to PhD level, focused on marine systems. Its main innovative aspects are:

  • Link to sustainability and UN SDGs, and not only to pure science
  • Holistic approach, with the contribution of different expertise at the project partners
  • Teaching method which is more prone to learning by doing, and allows student-centric

The availability of such module will be of great importance for the marine systems community. There is no such available module in the community. Its structure and content will make it easy to be implemented in various settings, and to be personalised according to the specific local constraints. This course can be effectively used from many European institutions that are interested in marine systems and have access to at least basic facilities for the hands-on parts of the module.
The topics have been chosen for their importance in the marine system community across Europe, with an effort of providing cutting-edge education.

2. Study Course Entrepreneurship (O2)

We have found the need to have an intensive 5-day program, where the students could really be in an immersive environment, where they can learn, but also practice team-work, cooperation, problem solving, strategic planning. Following the feedback from students about the benefits of an intensive one-week course, we believe that the potential impact of this study course will be very beneficial to empower young people giving them an opportunity to build their ideas. The transferability potential is very high, as the material will be ready-to-use and there are no special requirements, like an equipped lab, for example.

3. Study Course Industry (O3)

This short 3-day study course explicitly targets industry participants, which usually cannot afford the time for longer courses. Currently industry players in the marine systems field are mainly large companies, which are not very much in contact with the latest R&D development at university research level, but which could be really beneficial in their domain of operation. In a view of lifelong learning and to stimulate a productive transfer from academia to industry, the development of this course represents an innovative initiative which is currently missing in the field. The impact can be potentially very high, with novel research findings being applied to real-world problems, which can mean a reduction in cost of operation, an increased safety, the achievability of otherwise unreachable goals. The transferability potential is also very high, as the material will be self-contained, and no particular equipment would be needed to run this course in other places by other institutions.

4. Special Issue Journal publication (O4)

This output aims to summarise the overall partnership experience, its outcome and its results in the various institutions. It represents the very first international initiative that links marine systems to the UN SDGs, with a specific focus on the role of education. It is important therefore that a concrete output is developed, overarching the various topics of the transnational meetings, reporting also on the results of any change in methodology which the project will bring in the partners’ activities. We expect for it to have a remarkable impact, both with other HEI, and at policy level.


III. Multiplier events:


Germany, Bremen, November 2019

This event took part as a joint effort from UB and JUB to present their activities to national and international players.

Croatia, BTS, October 2020              (future event)

This will take place linked to an international multidisciplinary event organised by the University of Zagreb, with the presentation of O1, O2, O3, O4.

Portugal, Lisabon, November 2020  (future event)

Main goal is to cover and present all od the intelectual outputs generated during the project.


Multiplier Event in Croatia in October 2019, during Breaking the Surface workshop

Multiplier event gathered more than

Organizing team

JACOBS students

University of Zagreb students
Innovation mgmt. training by
Manuel Jimenez Diaz


IV. Learning,teaching and training activities:


1.) Breaking the Surface - International Interdsciplinary Field Workshop of Maritime Robotics and Applications:


From 29th September to 6th October 2019, we organized the first Intensive Study Programme in Biograd na Moru (Croatia) in the form of a 7-day workshop titled International Interdisciplinary Field Workshop of Maritime Robotics and Applications - Breaking the Surface (BtS). ISP BtS was based on Intellectual Output 1 and served as a meeting place of university students, from BSc to PhD level, and experts in maritime robotics and the maritime robotics application areas, such as marine biology, marine archaeology, maritime security, oceanography, marine geology and oceanology.

BtS programme consisted of: 24 lectures where latest scientific research and results were presented; 7 field demonstrations which showcase the latest technology achievements made by research groups and companies; 7 tutorials which offer hands-on experience working with complex and modern underwater systems; and 4 company presentations with insight from company professionals about their company and company products. More than 220 people participated in the event, out of which more than 70 were students. Each partner sent several students from their institution to participate.

During BtS, not only scientific lectures were presented. A discussion about how the current courses link the students to potential companies and employers was sparked among the gathered students, IMPACT partners and industry representatives. Also, IMPACT partners organized a meeting where gender equality was discussed and novel ways on reducing the gender unbalance. Students also had an opportunity to hear more about experiences of setting up spin-off and start up companies by gathered experts.

BtS was organized by partner UNIZG FER with the support of all partners who contributed with their expertise. During the BtS, the whole progamme was videotaped and all presentations were collected from the speakers. All materials are published on BtS website and YouTube channel and they serve as a learning material to all interested students.


Organizing team

JACOBS students

University of Zagreb students
Breaking the Surface participants


live equipment and software demonstrations

Breaking the Surface audience

hands-on tutorials
live equipment and software demonstrations



Univeristy of Girona students

VR experiments
Breaking the Surface participants


lecture by Maarja Kruusmma, Tallin University

lecture by Francesco Maurelli, JACOBS University

lecture by Ralf Bachmayer, University of Bremen
lecture by Nikola Mišković, University of Zagreb


2.) Bremen, upcoming event

This is a 5-day ISP, based on Intellectual Output 2. It is aimed at university students, from BSc to PhD level, focused on entrepreneurship. It will be consituted by a mix of lectures and team / practical activities.