Training needs for future shipping

Investigating the effect of Industry 4.0 on the shipping industry and the role of future seafarers in autonomous shipping

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

In recent years, Industry 4.0 with the advent of technology, especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), brings about the possibility of developing fully autonomous systems. Recently, with the introduction of commercially sensible solutions, the design and operation of unmanned and autonomous cargo and passenger ships are gaining momentum. Soon this will persuade shipping companies to add autonomous ships to their fleet. As a matter of fact, currently, there are few commercial autonomous ships in operation. Therefore, this research is timely as autonomous shipping is not a promise to be delivered in the future but a reality that has already commenced.

The utilisation of autonomous and unmanned shipping technology will have many effects on seafaring and the role seafarers as operators should play. However, although these ships are referred to as unmanned, the human element will still be present as remote operators when ships with autonomous systems enter into service. The shore-based operations of such ships demand new skills and expertise that are yet unknown and thus require an extensive investigation. Current literature emphasises the uniqueness of the requirement of training for operators who work in an automated space. Moreover, the current STCW Convention and the maritime training regulatory systems do not account for the training needs of future autonomous ship operators. Thus, there is a need for research to shed light on these essential skills.

This research will conduct an extensive investigation to identify the education and training requirements for seafarers who will operate autonomous ships in the near future. The findings of this research will provide guidelines and a recommendary framework that can be used by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the maritime regulators to revise training needs towards mentoring seafarers and equipping them with the expertise required.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Reza Emad


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Reza Emad to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience