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Interview with Abbas Dashtimanesh

Publicerad 2021-11-30

Abbas Dashtimanesh has been appointed as assistant professor in naval architecture, starting from the 22nd of November. Occasioned by his arrival at KTH, Abbas talked to us about his career and background and shared his plans for the future.

Abbas Dashtimanesh

Welcome to KTH! What is it about KTH that attracted you to work here?

What attracted me to work here is not just about KTH’s international reputation and its long history but its innovation culture that has led to the development of many start-up companies in various fields. Besides, KTH’s center for naval architecture is well known for working on small ships that have been my main research field since 15 years ago. It’s also worth mentioning that Sweden is one of the countries with the highest per capita boat ownership in the world; that means I can develop my research studies in the field of small craft. At KTH, I will also have the opportunity to work with well-experienced colleagues.

What is your background story?

I’m from a region titled “Dashti” (my family name reflects that) in the southern part of Iran, neighboring thePersian Gulf, where the life of many people depends on the sea and their small boats. The biggest Iran’s shipbuilding company is also located in our province. Because of the environment I was living in, I got interested in studying “naval architecture”.

I spent my bachelor studies at the Persian Gulf University (PGU). Then, I moved to the biggest technical university of Iran (Tehran Polytechnic) where I got my master and PhD degrees in Naval Architecture (marine hydromechanics). After graduation, I worked in the boatbuilding industry for one year and thereafter, joined the PGU as an assistant professor. After being a visiting professor at Australian Maritime College, I found out that it’s essential to experience working in various international environments. Therefore, I got a tenured professor position at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia where I could develop a good network. Again after two years working there, I felt that I needed to change my environment if I wanted to grow more. Now, I’m here at KTH to embark on a new journey to make a new story out of my life.

Could you tell us more about your responsibilities as a naval architect? Is your job mainly practical or theoretical?

Due to the dynamic nature of a seaway, marine vehicles’ performance and safety are often disrupted by enormous dynamic loads, motions and accelerations. Such factors may seriously lead to motion sickness and similar motion-induced forms of discomfort. As a naval architect, I feel some kind of responsibility to make sure that what I’m designing is operable, habitable and survivable. Therefore, I think a key responsibility of naval architects is to ensure the safety and operability of marine vehicles even in adverse weather.

During the past years, I have constantly been moving between practical and theoretical aspects but now, I’m pretty sure that I want to focus on the theoretical side of naval architecture, where I can hopefully support designers, by the development of innovative design tools considering new market demands regarding fuel efficiency and digitalization.

What are some of your research interests?

In general, my main research interest is ship hydromechanics, focusing on interactions of marine vehicles and the sea. However, I would also like to work on hydrodynamics problems mainly related to fuel efficiency and safety by implementing digital solutions. At the moment, I’m working on the development of digital tools for fuel-efficient small-craft design. Moreover, my PhD students are working on smart boat design, improving boat safety and boat motions simulation. I’m now moving towards a combination of hydrodynamics and artificial intelligence.

Are you planning to have some collaboration with the Swedish industry, during your time at KTH?

This is one of my ambitions. I have joined KTH to strengthen my collaboration with the industry. During the past years, I have completed several industrial projects in other countries but I know that every country has its own unique style of interaction between academia and industry. I expect to take some time to learn how this system has been designed and works in Sweden/KTH before making my own way through the industry. Thankfully, several excellent colleagues here seem to be open to working in industrial projects together.

You are responsible for establishing the Center of Innovation and Marine Technology Development at Persian Gulf University. Could you tell us more about it?

Establishing that center has a long story. Let me break it down for you in brief.

One of the main regional advantages of PGU was related to marine/maritime fields. PGU had been founded next to the Persian Gulf in order to focus on problems related to marine/maritime fields. After joining PGU, I started introducing innovation and entrepreneurship activities in the courses that I was teaching. 

Through these activities, I realized that the students would benefit from having a place where they would be able to build what they were designing within the courses. I introduced the idea to the university chancellor, who provided us with a place for such activities. Moreover, I developed a proposal for establishing the center of Innovation and Marine Technology Development. Unfortunately, the proposal was rejected by Iran's presidential deputy of science and technology. Subsequently, I tried to use our internal university resources for the unofficial establishment of the center. I implemented every available resource towards my purpose. Sometimes you need to work with your heart!

Eventually, I organized three entrepreneur teams in our center, with gratuitous financial support that I got from a shipbuilding company. The teams were working on technology development mainly related to maritime tourism. The water bicycle, hydrofoil jet-board and small electric boat for kids were all part of the technologies we were working on. Two of those teams are now established companies that are finding their ways in the market.

After a few years, I could finally get that infrastructure development fund and the center was officially established.

Do you have any plans to start a center similar to the 'Center of Innovation and Marine Technology' at KTH?

PGU and KTH have similarities and differences. They are at different development levels. Besides, establishing a center at KTH is totally different from PGU. I might have some idea like “Nordic-Baltic Maritime Innovation Center” for connecting the Nordic and Baltic innovation centers more effectively in the maritime field but it’s too soon to be able to talk about it. I still need to learn many things here. Let’s see what the future brings.

Text: Danai Deligeorgaki