Marine Design Innovation Institute

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A sister to Carderock's Center for Innovation in Ship Design, but located in New Orleans in order to access the Academic and Commercial innovation communities.


Concept: Applying engineering innovation tools to naval architecture problems.


  • Provide a gateway for learning and applying innovation tools; by problem solving, personnel formation, and knowledge sharing.
  • Execute R&D in support of policy development, including:
    • Study of emerging naval missions
    • Study of 'technology push' initiatives using emerging technologies
    • Study of alternative maritime sector responses to national needs, e.g. environmental incidents, natural disaster, terrorist threat
  • Outreach the naval engineering industry to STEM students, by showing interesting work, and inculcating in professionals an ethic of outreach.


A three-legged stool consisting of:

  • Projects and Directed research
  • Academic coursework at the University of New Orleans School of Naval Architecture
  • Special lectures


The NAME School at the University of New Orleans is unique to the southern region of the United States in offering degreed courses of study in naval architecture and marine engineering. The School provides the marine industry with well educated graduates and supports its progress through basic and applied research. UNO offers the Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME), Master of Science in Engineering and the PhD in Engineering and Applied Science. Our graduates are in high demand and find positions usually well before their actual graduation in a wide range of marine enterprises including ship and yacht builders, offshore companies, engineering and design consultants, software developers and others.

The School and the University of New Orleans College of Engineering offer several courses that are specially relevant to the work of the MDII. Students of marine design innovation are strongly encouraged to pursue an MSE in naval architecture, by taking a mixture of:

  • NAME Core courses
  • Management coursework in Innovation Management and Implementation
  • Innovation Design project (May be completed as MSE Project)

Other relevant UNO courses include:

Course Number & Title

  • NAME 3171 - Marine Design Methods
  • NAME 4097 - Human-Centric Design
  • NAME 4120 - Ship Structural Analysis and Design II
  • NAME 4121 - Analysis and Design of Offshore Floating Structures
  • NAME 4122 - Introduction to Marine Composites
  • NAME 4130 - Marine Engineering II
  • NAME 4133 - Ship Production
  • NAME 4141 - Curved Surface Modeling
  • NAME 4151 - Small Craft Design
  • NAME 4160 - Ship Hydrodynamics II
  • NAME 4162 - Offshore Structure and Ship Dynamics II
  • NAME 4177 - Advanced Vehicle Design
  • NAME 4728 - Intro. To CFD
  • NAME 6121 - Marine Structural Vibration
  • NAME 6145 - Design Optimization (II)
  • NAME 6160 - Numerical Methods in Hydrodynamics
  • NAME 6166 - Probabilistic Ship & Offshore Platform Dynamics
  • NAME 6168 - High Speed Hydrodynamics
  • NAME 6xxx - Design Management
  • NAME 6177 - Formulae for Invention
  • NAME xxxx - Design Optimization I
  • NAME xxxx - Design for Sustainability
  • NAME xxxx - Naval Vessel Design
  • NAME xxxx - Concept Design for Requirements Elucidation
  • MANG 6472 - Project Management

Special Lectures & Continuing Education:

While it is easy to describe this program as a track toward an MSE, it is also the MDII’s role to serve as a venue for continuing education on an ad hoc basis. Thus many of the courses already mentioned could be taken outside of the structure of a degree program. In addition, our goal is to create a ‘revolving door’ between career professionals and the Institute. We will actively seek means for professionals to participate in the Institute for a period of time, then return to their job for some years, and then return to the Institute to share lessons learned and improvements made. Our goal is to follow an ‘organic’ model that relies on a constant flow of fresh ‘nutrition’ from career experience.

As a component of this vision, many elements of the MDII are available as continuing education or special lectures. These include, of course, enrollment in routine courses at UNO, but they also include special modularized offerings wherein one element of a course can be completed on a stand-alone basis.

Stand-alone modules can also be offered as on-site offerings for government and commercial customers, subject to procurement rules established by the University.

Note that most of the UNO NAME MSE courses are tailored to the needs of the working professional, involving evening course and many on-line availabilities. A special effort has also been made to tailor the offering of the MDII to the needs of Navy and Coast Guard personnel, in support of mid-career formation goals.

In addition to these lectures from existing UNO faculty, the Institute also draws upon invited speakers from the regional innovation community, such as the firms of Austal USA, Textron Marine & Land Systems, INCAT-Crowther, and others.

During such work at the graduate level, we also want to draw the maritime industry into the educational process. Education should be viewed as a life-long pursuit, and avenues should be developed to encourage engineers working in the industry to consider further studies in their specialty. Industry should also be engaged in the education process even at the youngest levels, with outreach perceived as a component of the engineering profession, and we hope to connect the naval engineering community to pre-college STEM-related projects.

The goal is to make professional outreach a fundamental component of a naval engineer’s career. This will lead to attracting good students to the challenges and opportunities of naval engineering, naval internships during college, and careers in the naval sector of the marine industry – including increased interest in STEM studies in the next generation.


Projects will be used as innovation cells, by giving students hands-on experience in applying innovation methods to real-world technical challenges.

Projects topics are solicited from Naval sources, the Offshore Oil & Gas industry, and the commercial shipbuilding industry. Projects could be undertaken as coursework in innovation, or as funded research. Projects may be integrated into a 2-year MSE program in NAME.

Projects undertaken as part of the MSE in marine design will include components of planning, scheduling and milestone reporting. This element can be coordinated with coursework in project management in the UNO Management program. Projects will reflect real-world Naval career skills such as planning, scheduling, and presentation, as well as the obvious technical skills required during execution.

The goal of the projects is to amplify coursework. But the nature of innovation is that the problems are new and solutions do not exist. Because of this, it is necessary to have a continuing stream of new and unsolved challenges to tackle. Working with faculty mentors, and equipped with explicit training in innovation and ideation, student teams will hone their skills and internalize the core of the curriculum. They will then take these problem solving skills back to their career employment, further advancing the entire marine industry.

Thus the MDII is not pursuing "project based education" but is instead using these projects as "laboratories" for the application of skills taught in coursework.

In order to preserve the reality of the innovation "laboratories," the projects are generated by real-world needs from Navy or industry, including funded project opportunities.

Projects will be scheduled such that Navy personnel from NAVSEA, CISD & ONR are invited to the project final briefings. In addition, the NAME faculty will develop a report to ONR that documents:

  • Research benefits
  • Pedagogical benefits
  • Interface to “real” naval research
  • Lessons learned
  • Implications / ideas for future projects

Physical / Institutional Components:

The MDII is located within the UNO main lakefront campus in New Orleans. Facilities include:

  • Team site / Workroom
  • Innovator in Residence
  • Administration
  • Travel
  • Other UNO Faculty
    • Birk
    • Dong
    • Taravella
    • Xiros
    • Trumbach
  • Graduate Students
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Physical research assets
    • Towing Tank
    • Water Tunnel
    • Structural Lab
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