PRODIS is a thematic network of research and development activities devoted to product development and innovation in shipbuilding. More than 25 companies and research organisations from seven European countries are working together, giving the programme the resources it needs to promote R&D in several key areas of ship design and utilisation, and to draw the results together in a 'show' vessel that will represent the potential future of shipping.
Europe's maritime industry plays an important role in economic success, providing essential waterborne transportation of both cargo and passengers. However, persistent growth in world trade is placing pressure on all forms of transportation to be more efficient and more flexible. Environmental issues are also very much at the fore. The shipbuilding industry, led by the COREDES (Co-operation for Research and Development in European Shipbuilding) committee of the European Shipbuilders Association, began to look at ways to progress research and development activities. The result is PRODIS - a thematic network designed to co-ordinate R&D activities relevant to product development and innovation in shipbuilding.
Unlike other research programmes, a thematic network is structured to enable research in specific related areas, while also having a research aim that integrates those areas into a whole. PRODIS therefore has four research areas:
2. hull structures
3. power plants
4. cargo handling and mooring
which are being integrated by the fifth area, new ship concepts. The PRODIS partners work in one or more areas depending on their resources and expertise, but all the partners have access to all the results. This is a key benefit of thematic networks, and in this case it should play a major role in ensuring the competitiveness of the European shipbuilding industry in the future.