Underwater Acoustics

Group co-ordinator(s)

Dr. Duncan Williams, Dstl

If you are interested in joining the Underwater Acoustics SIG, please contact the SIG leader directly


The Special Interest Group (SIG) for Underwater Acoustics (SIGUA) is concerned with the generation, transmission, and reception of sound in the underwater environment including the interaction between sound and underwater surfaces and structures. The principal function of the SIGUA is to provide a forum for researchers, practitioners and users of underwater acoustics, covering analysis, modelling, synthesis, and measurement, across all possible underwater applications.


Historically, the UK has held a strong position internationally in underwater acoustics, and underwater acoustics has been represented at senior levels in industry and government, with considerable influence on national research priorities including funding. This has been eroded in recent years and the SIGUA will take steps to: (i) increase the national profile and importance of underwater acoustics; (ii) increase the level of senior representation in underwater acoustics; (iii) increase the number of early career researchers in underwater acoustics; and (iv) to increase the number of contributions to journals and international conference in underwater acoustics.

The main way this is expected to be achieved is by demonstrating the value of research in underwater acoustics to national challenges and strategic areas for research development. The SIGUA should also develop ways to capture different stakeholder valuations of research in underwater acoustics and to demonstrate the wider value to public life and its impact on society and the economy.

To support this the SIGUA will draw together researchers and practitioners across academia, industry and government, with the aim that the membership of the SIGUA will have a representative from all UK based institutions concerned with underwater acoustics, and encourage participation and contributions from users in other parts of industry and government, The SIGUA will also work closely with the other SIGs to identify needs in other areas of acoustics.

Specific objectives

The SIGUA will divide its efforts between a series of workshops, conferences, and other scientific events to exchange ideas and promote discussion between researchers, practitioners and users and a set of specific objectives. Some of the specific objectives that have been identified include: (i) produce a picture of the UK research landscape over the past 3 years considering such aspects as research trends, priorities, and funding; (ii) produce case studies showing the value and impact of underwater acoustics; (iii) produce an overview of current research priorities for practitioners and users; (iv) assess potential sources of funding for research priorities; (v) assess expertise available to support research priorities; (vi) develop list of up to 3 grand challenges in underwater acoustics; (vii) develop strategy to address gaps in senior representatives, early career researchers, and available expertise (if appropriate).

In parallel, the SIGUA will identify useful resources for underwater acoustics to be included on the UKAN website (www.acoustics.ac.uk). This will include a series of online educational resources, such as online seminars, events, such as grant writing workshops and conferences, and databases, such as lists of available facilities, models, and who knows what. These objectives will be discussed and agreed between members in the first six months of the network.

It is expected that a small management team will be established to coordinate the planning of scientific events, and other core SIGUA meetings, and sub-teams of members will be established to address the specific objectives. The management team will include at least one early career researcher.

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