Strategic Plan 2011-2015

Underwater Science and Technology in a changing world: meeting the challenges

The Society strives to improve its support for addressing the underwater science and technology challenges in a changing world. Burgeoning energy demands are driving exploitation of oil and gas in ever deeper water, posing significant engineering and technology challenges. At the same time, recognition of the impacts of climate change and the need to develop sustainable sources of energy are accelerating the development of technologies to exploit the potential of the oceans as a source of renewable energy. A rising population is putting ever greater pressure on living marine resources and the effective management of sometimes conflicting uses of marine space. This SUT strategic plan outlines how the Society plans to continue to develop its international role in assisting corporate and individual members in meeting these challenges and achieving sustainable use of our oceans and seas.


This Strategic Plan outlines a comprehensive roadmap for the five–year period from 2011–2015 for the future international development of the SUT. A key factor in SUT’s development in recent years has been adoption of a systematic and consultative strategic planning process to guide the organization. The Strategic Plan provides direction when decisions and choices are made, priorities are set, and resources are allocated. This Strategic Plan takes into account:


This Strategic Plan is intended to foster a strong sense of dedication and commitment in SUT’s constituents to ensure that the actions necessary to implement and attain organizational goals are undertaken and brought to successful conclusions. This Strategic Plan:

  • elucidates the vision, mission, and goals of the organization;
  • offers guidance for formulating work programmes and budgets;
  • presents a broad overview of priorities, current thinking on activities and products, and future directions and new frontiers in underwater science and technology;
  • considers the potential impacts on underwater science and technology of scientific, technological, social and economic developments in other fields;
  • suggests ways to improve organizational structure and functioning through consideration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats;
  • furnishes guidance for aligning human and financial resources with organizational strategic goals while optimizing leverage, return and impact;
  • gives Members a framework for decision–making;
  • assists Members in managing national level activities that contribute to SUT activities;
  • presents the Secretariat and Executive Committee with metrics for monitoring organizational progress toward goals and overall performance; and
  • describes the organization’s activities, management, procedures, and processes so that SUT is transparent to all stakeholders.


The SUT is an international learned society that is independent of any company, government or political persuasion. Established under English Law as a limited liability company with charitable status, it derives an income from individual and corporate member subscriptions and the operation of various types of event that bring benefit to its members and the public at large. Whilst having corporate (company) members, the Society does not act as a trade association. Without Royal Charter, the Society is not able to accredit courses or bestow professional qualifications. Its Mission and Strategic Vision are described as follows:


The Society for Underwater Technology is an international body actively promoting the development, dissemination and exchange of ideas, information, and technology arising from or related to the underwater environment.

Strategic Vision

To maintain and develop SUT as the foremost society worldwide focusing on underwater technology, building on a reputation for high standards in publications, conferences, and training courses; having a growing membership in the UK and abroad; and having significant influence with government and industry in relevant policy areas, and encouraging people to attain suitable qualifications and enter the field of underwater technology.


SUT is multi–disciplinary and is concerned with all aspects of underwater technology, science and engineering and related subjects, including education and training, research and development and technology transfer and information dissemination. Areas of current technical interest include: diving and manned submersibles, underwater robotics, underwater science, ocean resources, environmental forces, marine policy, offshore site investigation and geotechnics, marine renewable energies, salvage and decommissioning and subsea engineering and operations. Of particular interest to the Society is the continuing development of the education and training of individuals.


The Society is directed by a Council which is elected by its members. The Council invites an eminent personality to be its President for a two–year term and elects a Chairman, Treasurer, and Honorary Secretary from its members. It also appoints a full–time professional Chief Executive who is head of the secretariat. The secretariat operates from two offices: a head office in London and a subsidiary office in Aberdeen.

The secretariat can be supported by working groups set up to undertake specific tasks and which are disbanded when those tasks are complete. SUT activity comes primarily through its committees, which report to Council. At present these are of three types: management, education and technology focused. Figure 1 shows how the Society is presently structured.

In order to provide maximum benefit to its members, the Society has set up a number of member branches. The Aberdeen Branch has been established for some 20 years, and the North of England Branch has been set up recently. In addition to these UK branches, in recent years in line with the previous strategic plan, a number of overseas branches have been formed, and there are now active SUT branches based in Rio de Janeiro, Houston, Perth, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, Lagos and Bergen.

Contact with members usually occurs in a number of ways. Whilst meetings of the committees provide the highest level of involvement, only about ten per cent of members are active in this way. The journal and UT2 magazine provide other avenues for contacts as do evening meetings, seminars, conferences and training courses.