Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre hails reeling in of £1m for pioneering projects
The organisation, which is based in Stirling University Innovation Park, said the capital will support three new innovation projects focused on the use of imaging tech and artificial intelligence (AI).
The three projects are valued at a combined £1.1m, have secured more than £350,000 funding from SAIC with additional support from businesses operating in Scottish aquaculture, and are expected to start this summer.
Two will cover technology-led environmental monitoring, including the use of AI, 3D modelling, and image-collecting remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), while the third focuses on the role of cleaner fish as an effective, sustainable treatment for sea lice.
The SAIC – which says it is one of seven innovation centres introduced by the Scottish Government to drive growth in areas of key economic and social importance – added the latest funding awards build on its work to date, covering more than 60 collaborative projects with a combined value of £52.7m.
It also cited a recent economic impact assessment produced by Frontline Consultants showing that projects funded by the innovation centre between its inception and February 2021 would collectively deliver additional turnover of more than £50m a year for the companies involved by 2026. The report also found that for every £1 of SAIC funding granted to research projects during this period, a further £4.67 was leveraged from businesses in the aquaculture sector and other funding sources.
SAIC chief executive Heather Jones said: “In recent years, technology adoption across the sector has increased rapidly, but there is still a huge opportunity to use more data-led, intelligent systems to inform better decision-making. Greater use of AI, imaging and ROVs for applications such as monitoring and mapping of the seabed could be transformative for reducing the sector’s environmental impact and supporting future regulation requirements.
“Driving improved sustainability, fish health and wellbeing is another area crucial to the growth and development of aquaculture. Through collaborative research in the sector’s core priority areas, we can unlock additional capacity for sustainable seafood production, with Scotland at the forefront of significant developments across the whole supply chain.”
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