Up to £6.8 million of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been secured to develop marine technology research, development and innovation activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Marine-i, a £9.3 million collaboration between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, brings together key infrastructure and expertise to enable the generation of new innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s marine sector, which has been identified as an area of high growth potential.
Marine-i forms part of the recently-announced Marine Hub Cornwall sector collaboration, which will bring together all of Cornwall’s marine expertise, helping the region to compete with other key markets globally.
Marine-i will focus on four interconnected themes – marine energy, marine manufacturing, maritime operations and marine environmental technologies, to stimulate and support business-led and market-driven research and development and innovation to drive productivity and the exploitation of new market opportunities.
The Marine-i team will include the innovation managers and business research fellows from the partners who will provide direct business to business technology innovation support to SMEs, and will act as the conduit to access the wide range of specialist services and facilities that are available within the project.
Marine-i will be based at ‘Chi Gallos’, a bespoke office complex at the heart of the Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park, and will also support businesses wishing to access the £3.18 million Marine Challenge Fund – a delegated grant scheme that has been specifically designed to drive marine sector research, development and innovation.
Further activities are also planned to encourage and enable businesses to gain access to the region’s key research and development and innovation assets, facilities, knowledge and expertise required to develop new and improved products, improve business processes and downstream applications which will create well paid skilled jobs.
Project manager, Professor Lars Johanning, said: “Marine-i will strengthen business innovation and has been set up in direct response to the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly marine roadmap to secure the continued growth of this sector.
“There is an expectation that as the regional commercial infrastructure grows, the marine sector will grow in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through smart innovations benefiting from the expertise and skills within the local supply chain and academia.”