Dr Robyn Pyne

Robyn joined LJMU in 2017 and is Programme Leader and Principal Lecturer for Logistics and Maritime programmes with our Faulty of Engineering and Technology. In 2024 she became Associate Dean for Global Engagement, responsible for collaborative provision and international partnerships for the faculty.

With an extensive career in maritime education and research, both in the UK and abroad, she is an advocate of providing opportunities for lifelong learning for seafarers and those across the sector.

Growing up in the port town of Dartmouth in Devon, it is perhaps no surprise that Robyn would pursue a line of work in the maritime sector, initially training as a Deck Cadet at the age of 18 with sponsorship from Trinity House - a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community.

She went on to gain a BSc (Hons) in Maritime Business and Maritime Law, an MSc in Social Research, and she holds a PhD in International Shipping, Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Her PhD research was on the Implementation of the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) in China and the Development of Effective Maritime English Teaching Curriculum. She carried out her research while also a member of teaching staff in the School of Navigation at Dalian Maritime University in China. While based in Dalian, she assisted with the delivery of the World Maritime University MSc programme in Maritime Safety and Environmental Management (delivered in Dalian), and also studied Mandarin Chinese.

Prior to joining LJMU, Robyn held academic appointments at Cardiff University, Plymouth University and London Metropolitan University. She has also held visiting lecturer status at Dalian Maritime University (China), Frederick University (Cyprus), and the Hamburg School of Shipping and Transport (Germany).

Now well established in Liverpool and at the university, is it any wonder that Robyn has found a new home in another famous port city with a long-established maritime history. As part of LJMU’s Bicentenary celebrations, Robyn joined colleagues at events to look back on 200 years of history and heritage, reflecting on the role the university has played in maritime education from its origins in 1823 as the Liverpool Mechanics’ Institute where the first recorded formal classes in nautical studies were held.

“The Liverpool Mechanics’ Institute was very much an institution for education for Liverpool, responding to the need for formal education for mechanics,” says Robyn. “Emerging from that was the marine specialisation.”

The nineteenth century marked a number of significant developments for the maritime industry in Liverpool, both in relation to the welfare of sailors as well as their education. The Liverpool Sailors’ Home School opened in 1852 offering ‘education beyond the norm’ and one of its Head’s, James Gill, campaigned strongly during the 1880s for more and better technical education for mercantile officers.

This demand was met in 1892, with the establishment of the Nautical College offering Deck Officers and Marine Engineers ‘the means of obtaining a thoroughly complete and scientific training in all the subjects embraced in a liberal technical education’. Today, LJMU’s Logistics, Offshore and Marine Research Institute (LOOM) is recognised for world class research and is a centre for postgraduate excellence offering a range of MSc and PhD programmes. Our education offer still includes the training of undergraduate Marine Engineers to go to sea.

“Today, we don’t deliver courses in the same way. We don’t deliver courses for seafarers only now, we tend to focus on research, and we are incredibly proud of the contribution we have made.”

– Dr Robyn Pyne

“Not just to the Liverpool City Region but also globally. Today, LJMU offers BEng and MEng programmes in Mechanical Engineering, and Marine and Mechanical Engineering, and MSc programmes in Marine and Offshore Engineering, Maritime Operations Management, Port Management, Renewable Energy, Maritime Energy Efficiency, and International Transport, Trade and Logistics.

“As a faculty we have a number of specialisations across the disciplines of mechanical engineering, marine and offshore engineering, electrical engineering, mechatronics and autonomous systems, computer science, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well in as logistics, and supply chain management.

“We are also able to carry out in-depth multi-disciplinary research and put together very strong research teams. This means we can punch a little above our weight in comparison to other former polytechnics, and we work with industry regionally and internationally.”

And looking to the future, Robyn is determined to use her role within LJMU and through her external appointments, such as Principal Investigator in the Skillsea project which focuses on current and future skills in the maritime sector, to ensure a sustainable pipeline of graduates can enter the sector, equipped for the workforce needs of tomorrow.

“We are now seeing a rapid rate of change that we have not seen before. I am working closely together with industry leaders, scholars, and innovators to navigate the future of maritime technology, sustainability and education, to identify future skills gaps which we at LJMU can look to reduce through our excellent teaching, student opportunities and research power.”