The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Scot­land’s aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try braced for £10m boost

- BY RE­BECCA BUCHAN Business · Entrepreneurship · Investing · Scotland · Richard Lochhead · School of the Art Institute of Chicago · David Gregory

Scot­land’s aqua­cul­ture sec­tor will ben­e­fit from a £10 mil­lion boost which, it is hoped, will help reaf­firm its po­si­tion as a global leader in in­no­va­tion and seafood pro­duc­tion.

The in­vest­ment in the Scot­tish Aqua­cul­ture In­no­va­tion Cen­tre (SAIC) will be pro­vided by the Scot­tish Fund­ing Coun­cil, Scot­tish En­ter­prise, and High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise (HIE).

It is ex­pected to be sup­ple­mented by £3.5m se­cured from third par­ties, rang­ing from com­pet­i­tive grants to in­come gen­er­ated through ser­vices.

Dur­ing its first fiveyear phase, SAIC turned its ini­tial project fund­ing package of £6.75m into a port­fo­lio val­ued at £42.6m, spread across 47 initiative­s.

Of the to­tal fig­ure in­vested, £33.8m came from in­dus­try and other part­ners – lead­ing to the cre­ation of more than 200 jobs, largely in ru­ral ar­eas.

SAIC also sup­ported the de­vel­op­ment of the aqua­cul­ture tal­ent pool by fund­ing the stud­ies of 92 MSc and PhD stu­dents.

SAIC played a key role in the de­vel­op­ment of the Aqua­cul­ture Growth to 2030 strat­egy, the in­dus­try’s plan to sus­tain­ably dou­ble the sec­tor’s economic con­tri­bu­tion from £1.8 bil­lion in 2016 to £3.6bn by 2030.

The in­no­va­tion cen­tre has also bro­kered re­la­tion­ships be­tween the in­dus­try and its stake­hold­ers, par­tic­u­larly through the estab­lish­ment of the Aqua­cul­ture In­dus­try Lead­er­ship Group (AILG).

Richard Lochhead, Min­is­ter for Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion, Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Sci­ence, said: “Scot­land’s in­no­va­tion cen­tres have the po­ten­tial to have a trans­for­ma­tional ef­fect on our econ­omy.

“The gov­ern­ment is work­ing hard to en­sure the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try con­tin­ues to thrive, and to­day’s an­nounce­ment means the Scot­tish Aqua­cul­ture In­no­va­tion Cen­tre will re­main a cat­a­lyst for growth in a key na­tional in­dus­try which en­joys in­ter­na­tional suc­cess, se­cur­ing fu­ture jobs and sus­tain­able economic growth.”

SAIC chair­man David Gre­gory said: “Saic was built to do things dif­fer­ently.

“We have sought to act as a ful­crum for in­dus­try, the public sec­tor, and academia, bring­ing ev­ery­one with an in­ter­est in aqua­cul­ture to­gether for the good of the Scot­tish econ­omy.

“We have also helped the in­dus­try deal with some of its big­gest chal­lenges – which in­di­vid­ual busi­nesses, or even groups of com­pa­nies, wouldn’t have been able to tackle on their own – through ac­cess to aca­demic ex­per­tise and ap­plied re­search.

“The level of in­vest­ment from in­dus­try is tes­ta­ment to that suc­cess: our orig­i­nal goal was to at­tract £1 of in­dus­try in­vest­ment for ev­ery £1 we spent on projects, but we have de­liv­ered sig­nif­i­cantly more than that.

“The projects have been in­dus­try-rel­e­vant, at­tract­ing hard cash from part­ners and de­liv­er­ing out­comes that could make a real dif­fer­ence.”

In its Phase 2 strat­egy for the next five years, SAIC said it plans to drive in­no­va­tion by lever­ag­ing new sources of fund­ing, de­velop aqua­cul­ture skills and tal­ent across Scot­land through a fo­cused pro­gramme, and share in­no­va­tion through­out the in­dus­try.

The in­no­va­tion cen­tre will host Gill Health Ini­tia­tive 2020 in April next year in a bid to in­spire and share new ideas around an im­por­tant in­dus­try pri­or­ity.

 ??  ?? The Scot­tish Aqua­cul­ture In­no­va­tion Cen­tre has at­tracted a £10m fund­ing boost
The Scot­tish Aqua­cul­ture In­no­va­tion Cen­tre has at­tracted a £10m fund­ing boost

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