Research and Teaching to Focus on Emerging Technologies that Advance Green Marine Applications, Reducing Climate Impact and Protecting Fragile Ecosystems like Canada’s Arctic

March 16, 2021 – North Vancouver, BC – Today, Seaspan Shipyards and the University of British Columbia (UBC) announced the establishment of a new faculty chair position at UBC. The chair, the third to be funded by Seaspan at UBC, both supports the priorities of the university and addresses the needs of the marine sector for technological innovation and highly qualified personnel. The chair will perform research and teach in emerging areas such as hybrid electrical propulsion, shipboard communication, cyber security, digital controls, underwater radiated noise and situational awareness. Seaspan will be investing $1M over five years.

Hybrid electrical propulsion offers particular benefits with regard to climate and environmental support, especially related to marine traffic in fragile ecosystems like Canada’s Arctic. With interest in green technology in the marine sector exploding internationally, developing Canadian expertise and applications opens the door to an important export market. UBC has earned a global reputation for taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts — the university is currently ranked number one in the world in this area by Times Higher Education.

The potential areas of research for the new chair span several traditional disciplines such as naval architecture, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and materials engineering, and newer disciplines such as biomedical engineering and human factors sciences. As one of the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is well positioned to address these emerging areas of research and teaching, and is committed through their strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, to reduce the impacts of climate change, foster local and global collaboration, and provide broad and sustainable benefits to society. The search for a chairholder is underway.

The investment is part of Seaspan’s commitment under Canada’s value proposition program within the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Seaspan will be investing $1M (over five years starting in 2022) which UBC will match with a further $1M.


“UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science values its longstanding partnership with Seaspan, which continues to deepen with their investment in this third Seaspan Shipyards Chair in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The chair will complement our existing research and teaching strengths in key areas like clean technology innovation, cyber security, 5G technology and advanced manufacturing. Applying these strengths to the marine context will accelerate innovation in the marine sector and will help advance our strategic priorities related to impacting planetary health and climate change, contributing to thriving cities and communities, and equipping our students for the future of work.”
– Prof. James Olson, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science, University of British Columbia

“Seaspan is proud to be contributing to advancing knowledge in areas critical to Canada’s environmental, innovation and shipbuilding priorities. New technologies like hybrid electrical propulsion for the marine sector offer promising potential to help Canada meet its environmental and economic goals, and practical applications for Seaspan Shipyards as we continue to rebuild Canada’s non-combat fleet under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.”
– Mark Lamarre, Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards


Before today’s announcement, Seaspan had already invested over $22M to support education, learning, research and skills development to the benefit of its current and future employees and of the broader Canadian marine industry. Seaspan has also focused on reducing barriers for underrepresented groups, bringing a broad range of new talent into the industry and into the trades, including more women and Indigenous peoples, and creating opportunities for youth through internships and apprenticeships.


National Shipbuilding Strategy
Seaspan Shipyards
Seaspan NSS


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Seaspan Shipyards, a division of Seaspan ULC, is a leader in Canada’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry. With modern facilities and a dedicated workforce of 2,700 in North Vancouver and Victoria, the company has proven itself to be a trusted partner on a range of complex projects for both government and the private sector.

Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be Canada’s chosen non-combat shipbuilder under the NSS. In this capacity, the company is building state-of-the-art ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. Through its NSS-related work, Seaspan Shipyards is creating jobs, generating economic benefits and rebuilding Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries.

Seaspan Shipyards Media Contact
Keelan Green


The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world and recently recognized as North America’s most international university.

It is the largest and most comprehensive university in Western Canada, and the only academic institution on the west coast of North America that provides undergraduate courses and a graduate program in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME). The current Master of Engineering program was established soon after the National Shipbuilding Strategy selected Seaspan Shipyards as Canada’s non-combat ship builder. The program accepted its first cohort of students in September 2013. Since then, over 100 students have graduated from the program. In addition, the NAME MEng program was a model for the development of the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) degree program that was launched in September 2015. UBC has graduated 25 students from the Naval Architecture-focussed MEL program and accepted a record number of students for the 2019/20 cohort.

UBC’s NAME program is officially recognized by The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and promoted through their organization, and graduates from the program have been successful at finding work in this field at numerous firms located locally, nationally, and internationally.

UBC Media Contact
Wendy McHardy
Director, Marketing and Communications, UBC Faculty of Applied Science