PhD: Floating Marine Laboratory - OsloMET

Dear Profesor Alcocer,Thank you for adding me on LinkedIn.

First of all, I would like to tell you that I rapid-read your Ph.D. thesis "Positioning and Navigation Systems for Robotic Underwater Vehicles" with great admiration a few months back on the recommendation of Etienne Gernez. Not that I understand all of it, but I am impressed with the engineering of it, really like the principles and intentions.

Thank you very much for sharing the profile of Prof. Arild Berg. His work is very diverse, artistic, yet very practical and applied in society. The "Design Culture Sustainability" group has quite a few interesting faculty. Scanning through, I found Prof Astrid Maria Heimer, who wrote a chapter of a book in 2017 "Values of crafting in design education" and Prof Liv Merete Nielsen, "Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future." that could complement well your strong engineer background.

Back in May, I looked at the OASYS page, and I was dreaming to get involved with it - to be honest! I was elated when Etienne told me that you have an open position for a Ph.D. researcher. I would like to share about 2 projects I am working on right now, that could most directly relate:


Floating Marine Laboratory

The ocean is the main driver for the climate and today the instruments we use to monitor them such as research vessels and satellites are extremely expensive. Most of the communities that will be most affected by global warming -the "Global South"- do not have the knowledge and the means to study and understand the maritime environment they depend on. I am proposing the concept of a "floating maritime laboratory" that is essentially a habitable buoy/boat hybrid, that would be extremely affordable, open-source, streaming real-time environmental data, and that would be built from local materials.


I started experiments in 2010 while doing my Master's project at the Royal College of Art in London, and the team I led "Open_Sailing" won the Ars Electronica Golden Nica as a poetic and whimsical concept. After the "dream phase", the project became less about "living on the water" but studying and protecting the ocean.


Ten years later, after a long pause, I resumed the work and I now teach Masters of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong as a Senior Lecturer, and I run this research as an Architecture studio with an Open Innovation model. In June, just a few months ago, with 15 students, 1,100 USD, 2 days of construction work, we built a 1:1 scale model of that Floating Marine Laboratory and tested it at sea successfully. The concept is to repurpose offshore fish farms in pollution treatment nodes, as the water is very polluted in the Pearl River Delta - the world's factory. We will run this program again this year in close collaboration with the Marine Biology faculty and leave our platform longer in the water with proper governmental permission and anchoring. I have this poorly edited draft video, I will make a better one in the winter. I have attache the Course outline as a pdf.


Coral Reef Mapping Robot

Three years ago, as I was teaching high schooler's workshop, we came up with a great idea: replacing the conventional coral quadrat with a laser one, to speed up, improve accuracy, safety and lower the cost of mapping coral. Since the idea evolved into a semi-autonomous sailing platform that:

  1. Program the GPS waypoints
  2. Take thousands of pictures of coral
  3. Stitch them together (photogrammetry)
  4. Use AI on the tiles to identify coral, evaluate their health
  5. extract essential data such as coverage, biodiversity, the health index

The design has evolved from a conventional boat to a large catamaran, to a raft with drones parts, that we tested in the Philippines and Malaysia, and recently, we're evolving extremely rapidly towards a multihull design with 5 cameras (recent prototypes videos below). Tomorrow, we will build the newest version that will look more like a ladder. We try to keep our documentation up to date here: finance this project as an educational summer project, so we have a lot of young people involved, and we're making a film out of it (trailer):

Here are the most recent versions with the 5 cameras array:

  1. June 20: Bow and arrow 1 line:
  2. July 5: Bow and arrow testing in Hoi Ha (5 cameras success!): | | |
  3. July 25, Bow and arrow 2 lines:
  4. Aug 1: Dream Catcher:
  5. Aug 8: Delta Force:
  6. Aug 15: V-Ladder: That's the one we build tomorrow. We want to present to the public Aug 28

How I think that could connect well with the position you offer

You might wonder, why would I want to leave my well-paid teaching position in Hong Kong to do Ph.D. in cold Oslo :D ?

  1. The climate urgency.
  2. I want to focus on research and complete my Ph.D.
  3. This is the first Ph.D. position that combines my 2 interests of autonomous sailing AND habitable platform with the declared intention to "drastically reducing the cost of ocean observation and monitoring.". I feel that your background + other faculties + being in Oslo with a European project would provide an excellent environment for me to research.

I am sorry for this long email with many links. I tried to keep it succinct, but I must admit, I very excited to talk to you and learn more about you, your work, and OASYS!

Next week, all my evenings are open (Hong Kong time), that's your afternoon in Oslo from 13:00 to 17:00 Oslo time. I would love to have the opportunity to have a chat with you on a video conference call before I dive into my application paperwork. Please let me know if you would be willing to have a chat.

Thank you very much for your time and attention,

Warm regards, Cesar


Cesar JUNG-HARADA 原田 実

GMT+8, Hong Kong Mobile & Whatsapp: +852 9610 7593

Etienne Discussion

  • Per Christer Lund, Technology Counsellor at Innovation Norway in Singapore

  • Birgit Lioden,

MSCA (Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions) encompasses different programs such as:

• The Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Fellowships scheme (EF):

The EF provides funding to top class foreign researchers to work on research projects in Europe for duration of 12 to 24 months. Researchers moving from third countries, such as Singapore, to Norway are eligible for an EF. To apply, you must have either a doctoral degree or at least 4 years’ full-time research experience, after obtaining a degree permitting you to embark on a doctorate.

• The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN):

The ITNs are networks that offer funding for PhD-students of any nationality, for stays at network partners in MS or associated countries. The PhD-training can last up to 36 months. Relevant positions can be found on the Euraxess website.

NTU signs strategic R&D partnership with the Norwegian Energy Collaboratorium established in Singapore