Underwater tech projects secure £21m in funding thanks to Scotland-Japan tie-up

L- R: Tony Laing of NSRI, David Rennie of Scottish Enterprise and Neil Gordon of Subsea UK. Picture: Contributed
L- R: Tony Laing of NSRI, David Rennie of Scottish Enterprise and Neil Gordon of Subsea UK. Picture: Contributed
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Half a dozen underwater technology projects are set to benefit from almost £21 million in investment thanks to a joint initiative between Scotland and Japan.

The money will be pumped into six research and development (R&D) projects being developed by 20 companies from the two nations. It comes on the back of a tie-up between industry body Subsea UK and its technology arm, NSRI, and Scottish Enterprise and the Nippon Foundation.

Scottish Enterprise is supporting with £6.2m in R&D funding to 12 Scottish businesses, while Japan will contribute £4.1m to the joint projects. A further £10.6m is being contributed by the Scottish companies into six projects with eight Japanese partners.

The projects were chosen based on the potential of their “near-to-market” technology to solve technical challenges in the fields of offshore renewables, carbon capture and storage and oil and gas.

Collaboration

Under the six schemes, the companies will collaborate with industry bodies and universities to develop innovations in mooring, installation systems, geoscience and artificial intelligence.

The additional funding has been secured as a result of the success of the first investment call, promoted by the partnership, which saw £8.8m invested into five R&D projects centred around digitalisation involving 12 companies.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, said: “Globally the ‘blue economy’ is forecast to be worth £140 billion by 2035 and Scottish companies who can develop disruptive technology can capitalise on this opportunity.

“The scale of this opportunity was reflected in the response to the second call which has attracted projects that have applications across the entire underwater industry.”

He added: “The increase in funding is in direct response to the success of the first call and the quality of submissions for the second call. Led by Scottish Enterprise, this initiative is a unique opportunity to engage with industry and academia across Scotland and Japan, renowned for their development of innovative technology.”

Blue economy

David Rennie, head of oil and gas, Scottish Enterprise, said: “It is fantastic to see these projects coming to fruition and we are delighted to work with partners here in Scotland and Japan.

“It is particularly welcome to see the focus on the blue economy agenda. While our experience and focus in subsea has been based around oil and gas, these project awards clearly demonstrate that our subsea sector, one of our key global strengths, has the potential to help deliver technology solutions in a range of sectors beyond oil and gas. These projects will create significant value for the economy.”

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