10th Anniversary of International Human-Powered Submarine Race at Haslar Marine Technology Park


IMarEST and QinetiQ are delighted to have completed this year's European International Submarine Races (eISR), in Europe’s largest freshwater tank, QinetiQ's Ocean Basin, at Haslar Marine Technology Park, Gosport, UK.

Organised by IMarEST and hosted by QinetiQ, the "human-powered submarine" race, which runs every other year, is in its tenth year and saw teams of students from the Universities of Southampton and Warwick in the UK and Universities from the US, Canada, Germany and Taiwan competing against each other.

This year's overall winner was Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany and the runner-up was the University of Michigan, US. The École de Technologie Supérieure from Montreal, Canada, won the BMT Award for Innovation and Rhein-Waal also took home the UKNEST Agility Award.


Over two weeks, the teams design, build and race their underwater vehicles by using pedal power to propel them, as they navigate the challenging underwater slalom course. To win the competition, teams must demonstrate creativity and comprehensively document their work with the aim of achieving sporting prowess. Points are awarded for speed, manoeuvrability, reliability, endurance and perseverance. Especially important in the scoring is the team's ability to rise to the unexpected challenges of the underwater environment.

IMarEST Race Director, William Megill says, ”When the IMarEST and QinetiQ created the eISR, the goal was to provide university students with an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to the design and actual production of real underwater machines. The practical experience they obtain in their preparation, the teamwork they demonstrate at the competition and the reflection of their successes (and failures) afterwards, uniquely prepare them for exciting careers in the maritime sector. The proof is in the pudding: of the approximately 1,500 students who have taken part in the submarine races over the last 10 years, many are now in positions of significant responsibility at marine engineering companies in the UK and worldwide. As we head into the second decade of the eISR, we look forward to working with young minds to solve the challenge of getting around in the Ocean of Tomorrow.”

QinetiQ Submarine Business Manager, Andy Dinsdale says, “This is a fantastic STEM event and timely following on from QinetiQ’s recent Schools Powerboat challenge. It’s a real privilege to host the event in Haslar and to see so many teams competing again.  The “buzz” around the teams has been amazing. This event is truly unique, enabling university students from multiple nations, to design and build an underwater vehicle, having identified suitable funding. The event replicates many of the challenges of designing and testing a “real submarine” and aligns very closely to QinetiQ’s activities delivering Underwater Test and Evaluation (T&E), so is a great event for us to host. We need to make sure that the event continues to inspire the next generation of submarine designers and builders.  If what we’ve seen over the past two weeks is an indication of future capabilities, then our future should be in safe hands! We look forward to seeing the event back in the UK in two years’ time.”