A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Texas A&M University and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) at the Norwegian Consulate in Houston on Nov. 10, 2016. The MOU sets a framework for cooperation in joint investigations, international projects, scientific exchanges and training of personnel concerning the field of offshore geotechnical engineering, on subjects of mutual interest.
Consul General Morten Paulsen held a reception at the Norway House to celebrate the signing of the MOU, a document that observes the longstanding collaboration between the two organizations.
“NGI is the largest center for geoscientific expertise in Norway, with offices in Houston, Oslo, Trondheim, and Perth,” said Knut Schrøder, NGI's expert advisor in offshore geotechnics. “NGI has around 230 employees, 80 percent of whom have master’s or Ph.D. degrees, and is recognized as a leading international center for research and consulting within the geosciences."
At the event, Texas A&M was represented by Zachry Department of Civil Engineering faculty, Dr. Charles Aubeny, professor, and Dr. Zenon Medina –Cetina, associate professor. Aubeny and Medina-Cetina made technical presentations describing their past and current collaborations with NGI.
Aubeny’s presentation, “Geotechnical Engineering for Offshore Renewable Energy,” started the evening off, speaking of the long track record of Texas A&M and NGI collaboration and their works on floating, offshore wind farms.
“I think that if [the collaboration and MOU are] formalized, it provides more mechanisms for things like student internships and more industry involvement in our research in general.” Aubeny said. “It could be a mechanism for getting professionals from NGI on our thesis and doctoral committees. Getting input on our research; academic research tends to be fairly theoretical so getting an industry perspective nudges us toward the more practical applications.”
Medina-Cetina's presentation, “Lessons Learned at NGI, 10 Years Later,” focused on the research he has been conducting over the years alongside his students, including topics from probabilistic modeling of geotechnical structures, to the use of haptic robots to dive into complex geologic processes.
“We are signing this MOU as a celebration of the numerous research collaborations between our institutions that are now being transferred to new generations of professionals in our research groups,” said Medina-Cetina. “Also, to reflect on our mutual interest in exploring new research opportunities that can transform into good current practices in industry."
From NGI, Schrøder presented a state-of-the-art review on offshore windfarms.