Centres for Excellence in Education is a prestigious scheme that is intended to stimulate outstanding quality in Norwegian higher education.
During the announcement on USN's Vestfold campus Iselin Nybø said: «An important goal is to get other educational environments to use the knowledge and experience that these centers have developed. And you are very much an educational environment that is inspiring and supporting others.»
The grant also includes a sum of up to NOK 36 million over five years.
The scheme is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) is responsible for the administration.
VIDEO: Minister Iselin Nybø tests maritime simulators at USN.
The award is based on the USN Center of Excellence in Maritime Simulator Training and Assessment (COAST). Central to COAST is the use of simulation, virtual reality and similar teaching methods, which will give students increased digital maritime competence and prepare them for working life.
«COAST is a brilliant example of innovating thinking in higher education, bringing students close to working life and using digital and practical teaching methods,» Nybø said.
COAST stems from a collaboration between USN, NTNU Ålesund, UiT and HVL, and aims to be the world's leading provider of simulator training and assessment for maritime education.
«The academic environments that receive this status are outstanding at an international level. They have demonstrated that they are innovative in their work with education and have great ambitions for further development,» Director General of Diku, Harald Nybølet, said.
«Our mission is to promote student-centered learning through innovative simulator-based education. The goal is to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a maritime industry under development,» Professor Salman Nazir of USN, who is the Scientific Director of COAST, said.
Through COAST, students – along with instructors, researchers, academic and industrial partners – are involved in exciting development work. Students can participate as laboratory assistants and contribute to the development of new scenarios for simulation, 24/7 capacity for simulator training, new curriculum and new forms of assessment practice at all four collaborative institutions.
– At the forefront
Norway has a long and rich maritime heritage, with considerable expertise in maritime education and training. It is one of the world's largest and most technologically advanced seafaring nations. The Norwegian maritime industry is knowledge-intensive and contributes significantly to the national GDP by employing 90,000 people and generating values of EUR 14.5 billion per year.
Minister Nybø believes that USN has found a way to combine educational quality and job relevance.
«Using simulation gives the students an important competence that prepares them for the maritime industry. It's only a few weeks since USN received the Education Quality Award for your Industrial Master in System Engineering, and now a Centre for Excellence in Education. Well done,» Nybø concluded.