Martin Sutcliffe: "The OIGs will offer a unique opportunity for industry and academia to collaborate and innovate in a safe, precompetitive space."

Livestock research centre turns spotlight on aquaculture

UK government body leads new push for innovation in sector


Fish farmers and other aquaculture stakeholders in the UK are being invited to join Open Innovation Groups (OIGs) to combat industry challenges and pioneer innovation.

The initiative from UK government funded CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) follows a series of roadshows held by the Centre earlier this year. Four workshops were held between 20 April and 12 July - one in each UK nation – to help shape CIEL’s ambition to accelerate science and innovation within the aquaculture sector.

“Based on feedback from our four nation workshops, the OIGs will offer a unique opportunity for industry and academia to collaborate and innovate in a safe, precompetitive space,” said CIEL aquaculture specialist Martin Sutcliffe.


By joining an OIG, members will gain access to a reservoir of knowledge and collaborative opportunities that aim to attract investment, drive innovation, and secure the UK’s position as a leader in sustainable aquaculture practices, added Sutcliffe.

“We can help identify new ways to solve complex challenges, inform and influence industry priorities. This will speed up the translation of ideas into innovative solutions and position businesses at the forefront of innovation.”

Sutcliffe said that the industry faces nation specific challenges ranging from environmental bioremediation to disease control, but he is optimistic that solutions can be found.

Range of ideas

“Our stakeholder workshops held across the four nations throughout 2023 have proven the success of industry collaboration. A wide range of ideas were discussed at the workshops and the OIGs will move the ideas from the drawing board and into action”, he said.

“The goal is to build upon this engagement work and leverage our world-class research and industry network to meet and exceed our innovation priorities through the development of Open Innovation Groups.”

A booklet about CIEL’s approach to aquaculture can be downloaded here.

York-based CIEL expanded its activity to include aquaculture in 2022. It has one of the world’s leading livestock research alliances, comprising more than 900 expert animal scientists. Over the past five years, CIEL, through support from Innovate UK and in collaboration with its research partners, has invested more than £70 million into innovative livestock research facilities in the UK.