Up to £6.8m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been secured as part of a £9.3m programme to develop marine technology research, development and innovation activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Marine-i, a 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 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. Marine-i also forms part of the Marine Hub Cornwall sector collaboration, which aims to showcase Cornwall as a world-class centre for marine renewables technology.
The Marine-i team will include innovation managers and business research fellows from the partners who will provide direct technology and 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; at the heart of the Marine-i is a £3.18m Marine Challenge Fund offering a range of grants from £5K to £150K – a delegated 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. This funding provides a unique opportunity for businesses to enhance expertise and create jobs through collaboration and co-creation.”
Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy added:
“I’m really excited about this project, the marine technology sector is very important to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The investments we have already made in Wave Hub and the Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park, make new projects like this one possible. Our unique location as well as the expertise and experience available will make us front-runners in the emerging sector and will create well-paid jobs for our residents.”