By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Young Scottish engineers will get the chance to participate in an international competition to design underwater machinery and robotics, thanks to support from Subsea UK.
The body, which represents the £9 billion subsea industry in the UK, has agreed a long-term partnership with Robert Gordon University to extend the Scottish MATE ROV Challenge.
This initiative aims to inspire future engineers through hands-on experience of designing remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) used underwater in the oil and gas, defence, oceanology and marine renewables industries.
The annual event, which is coordinated by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre in California in partnership with the Aberdeen university, involves teams made up of pupils from schools across Scotland.
To date, MATE ROV has worked with 460 pupils from 29 schools with an annual commitment from BP and ad-hoc support from other oil and gas companies.
Graeme Dunbar, RGU engineering lecturer and competition co-ordinator, said: “The competition is a fantastic way of sparking a love of engineering in school pupils and over the years we have seen more and more schools and pupils interested in getting involved.
“It is an investment in the future of the industry and the support that we are receiving from all our sponsors will allow us to expand and improve the MATE competition which is fantastic.”
The winners of the Scottish competition, which is held on April 2 at RGU, will go forward to the international final against qualifiers from 24 other regions around the world at the Marine Institute in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
Subsea company ROVOP has also stepped in to support the initiative, which along with the financial contribution of Subsea UK and another new sponsor, brings a much-needed £16,000 to the programme.
The company employs 130 people, has invested more than £40 million in new ROVs, £500,000 in its proprietary training facility, the ROVOP Academy, and recently moved into purpose-built £4 million headquarters in Westhill, Aberdeen.