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Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair established at Dalhousie University


A new Irving Shipbuilding research chair at Dalhousie University will contribute to Canada becoming a premier marine research leader in the world. 

The Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Marine Engineering and Autonomous Systems will create a foundation for sustainable Canadian talent and leadership in marine engineering and provide leadership in Ocean Engineering at Dalhousie University. Irving Shipbuilding is contributing $500,000 to establish and support the research chair position. 

Dr. Mae Seto, an associate professor in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Engineering, has been appointed the Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Marine and Engineering Autonomous Systems and work is already underway on many projects. Dr. Seto worked for 16 years as a defence scientist with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). Her experience positions her well to not only undertake this highly specialized research, but also support students in her lab to follow in her footsteps. 

Dr. Seto and the students she supervises are working on intelligent autonomous systems, unmanned ships, shipboard intelligent launch and recovery systems, and marine robotics. Their research activity, done in conjunction with the Ocean Frontiers Institute (OFI) will support many aspects of the marine industry including, search and rescue, underwater communications and navigation, and oceanographic modeling with the aim to use that information to create economic and social value.

This research area is a key to the success of OFI, which relies on the development of new and innovative technologies to measure and observe the ocean. Atlantic Canada has a rich history in ocean sensing which has long been supported through DRDC, the Canadian Navy and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. 

Irving Shipbuilding is funding the chair position as part of the Value Proposition commitment under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. Through this commitment, Irving Shipbuilding will invest 0.5% of contract revenues in projects that will help create a sustainable marine industry. The Value Proposition commitments on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, currently under construction at the Halifax Shipyard, will provide approximately $12.5 million in funding to projects across Canada. 

 ISI - Dal Research Chair 1
Dr. Seto, Director of the Intelligent Systems Laboratory, with students from her lab. (L-R: Mae Seto, Hemang Purohit, Edward Gregson, Elijah Vautour, Jordan Ross, and Amy Deeb; missing: Kate Svendsen, Parth Pasnani, Alexander Moore, Joel Lindsay ). The unmanned aerial vehicle shown is perched on a Stewart-Gough platform after autonomously landing on it. This platform mechanically emulates the ship motions, for an input ship class, in a sea state.



Kevin McCoy, President, Irving Shipbuilding 

“Irving Shipbuilding is proud to partner with Dalhousie University and the Ocean Frontiers Institute. This innovative research is addressing many of the most exciting topics in the marine industry today and will certainly contribute to advancing Canada’s ocean economy.”

Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President Research at Dalhousie University

“Dr. Seto is pushing the field of marine robotics forward, and her research is addressing many of the fundamental gaps in this critically important area. Her work is truly world-class, and we’re incredibly proud that it is happening at Dalhousie.”

Dr. Mae Seto, Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Marine and Engineering Autonomous System

"I am honoured to occupy the Irving Shipbuilding Research Chair in Marine Engineering and Autonomous Systems. My collaboration with OFI provides me with an opportunity to conduct timely research in the field of marine robotics and develop state-of-the-art ocean observation systems that will give us an unprecedented view of the marine environment."

 ISI - Dal Research Chair 2
Intelligent Systems Laboratory graduate students Amy Deeb and Jordan Ross test advanced methods to autonomously land quadrotors on ships in heavy seas. The structure below the quadrotor, a Stewart-Gough platform, mechanically emulates the degrees-of-freedom for a ship, of a select class, in a sea state.

About Irving Shipbuilding

Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Canada’s National Shipbuilder, is the most modern shipbuilder and in-service ship support provider in North America. Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, our skilled team and innovative facilities provide efficient building, fabrication, conversion and servicing of vessels and offshore platforms. As Canada’s national shipbuilder, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is working with the Royal Canadian Navy on the next class of Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) and Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) vessels under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). We are proud to continue our long history as a trusted partner in Canadian shipbuilding. Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is a member of the J.D. Irving, Limited group of companies, a diverse family owned company with operations in Canada and the United States.  Learn more at or

About Dalhousie University 

Founded in 1818, Dalhousie University is Atlantic Canada’s leading research-intensive university. Located in Halifax, NS, with an agricultural campus in Truro, NS, the university’s 6,000 faculty and staff foster a vibrant, purpose-driven community. In close proximity to the ocean, Dalhousie is situated within a cluster identified as one of the world’s top three international centres in ocean science.

Dalhousie’s students and faculty engage in learning and discovery across 13 faculties, conducting more than $135 million in research annually with hospitals, industry, governments, non-profit agencies and universities around the globe.

About the Ocean Frontier Institute 

The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) is a collaborative research initiative to harness the vast potential of the world’s ocean. An international hub for ocean science, OFI brings together researchers and institutes.

Media Contacts

Sean Lewis

Director, Communications

Irving Shipbuilding

Office: 902-484-4595

Mobile: 902-240-6964



Michele Charlton
Communications Advisor, Research
Dalhousie University
Tel: 902.494.4148

Cell: 902.222.2817