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USN's first Centre for Excellence in Education kicks off digitally

Three students in simulation

USN was awarded its first Centre for Excellence in Education, Senter for fremragende utdanning (SFU) in 2019 for its maritime simulator-based learning. After a brief pause due to the pandemic, the partners gathered digitally last week to give the centre a push.


“An important goal of the SFUs is to get other educational environments to use knowledge and experience that these centers have developed. And you are very much an educational environment for inspiration and support for others, ”said Minister Iselin Nybø  during the announcement ceremony at USN Campus Vestfold in December 2019. 

Institutions with the SFU label shows high quality and innovative practice in education.

Zoom meeting instead of a celebratory cake

Center of Excellence in Maritime Simulator Training and Assessment ( COAST ) started formally on 1 June 2020. What would have been a grand opening with cake and a full-day workshops was replaced by a digital kick-off, attended by the students, staff, instructors, industry and international partners in October due to the pandemic. 

COAST has its origins in  MARKOM2020, which is a collaboration on maritime education between USN, UiT, NTNU and HVL, run by USN Professor Salman Nazir on behalf of the four institutions.

“Our task is to be the world's leading provider of simulator training and assessment methods for maritime education. We will engage students, instructors, industry partners and researchers to understand maritime simulator practice today, identify gaps and come up with suggestions for solutions for the future. This is a unique opportunity to set a world-class standard for maritime simulator training and to ensure the quality of training of seafarers,” says Nazir.

Digital opening of COAST on zoom.

Will collaborate globally

The SFU status is granted for five years with the possibility to extend for another five. The goal is to continue to raise the standards for maritime simulator education in Norway, which can inspire other disciplines and global institutions.

The educational programs at USN that have connections to SFU are bachelor in nautical science, bachelor in marine engineering and bachelor in shipping and logistics.

“This is a very exciting investment that we have high hopes for. Through COAST's dissemination of knowledge, SFU will not only be able to promote maritime education in Norway but will also be able to contribute to the quality development of other educations where the use of a simulator is relevant,” says Ingvild Marheim Larsen, vice-rector for education, who also participated in it digital kicked off. 

With COAST now open, partner universities will organize their work towards delivery, plan workshops, design simulator experiments, and collect data involving students, teachers and researchers across the partner institutions.

“I am humbled and lucky to be able to contribute to Norwegian maritime education together with this team with support from DIKU (Norwegian Directorate for International Cooperation and Quality Improvement in Higher Education). Now we want to collaborate with industry and academia from all over the world,” Nazir concludes.

During these five years, the centre will focus on four areas:

  • Overall submission to the plan for simulator training.
  • Innovation in simulator-based learning and assessment.
  • Student involvement.
  • Organizational development

Coast logo

Center of Excellence in Maritime Simulator Training and Assessment (COAST)  was established through  MARKOM2020 to be the world leader in simulator training for maritime education. 

The goal is for the seafarers of the future to be as well equipped as possible to cope with challenges in the maritime industry with digitalisation, new technology, autonomous vessels, green shipping and demanding maritime operations that place higher demands on safety. Simulator training also gives students an understanding of the risks and underlying causes of unwanted incidents at sea.

USN is the host institution for COAST , together with partner institutions NTNU , the University College of Western Norway  and  UiT The Arctic University of Norway