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A fish farm in Loch Torridon in the Scottish Highlands. Photo: SAIC / Reimar Gaertner.
A fish farm in Loch Torridon in the Scottish Highlands. Photo: SAIC / Reimar Gaertner.

The Stirling-based Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has launched a new call for proposals for innovation projects that will help to increase the economic impact and reduce the environmental footprint of aquaculture.

Projects must focus on an area of key priority for the aquaculture sector: innovations for continued improvement in fish biology, regeneration and environmental practices. Grant funding is available to take commercially relevant ideas and concepts to the next stage. Research teams submitting proposals must include an industry partner working collaboratively with at least one Scottish higher education institution.

SAIC said that for this latest funding call it would particularly encourage applications that cover the integration of multiple species, such as multitrophic aquaculture. Teams have until December 8 to submit an expression of interest and must be ready for projects to begin by June 1, 2022, with collaboration agreements in place four weeks after funding has been awarded.

Priority areas

At their core, projects must be innovative in their approach or lead to innovative solutions that will help support the Scottish aquaculture sector and associated supply chain and be aligned to SAIC’s priority innovation areas: supporting finfish health and welfare, unlocking additional capacity in the sector, or a focus on shellfish and other non-finfish species.

SAIC will provide up to 50% of the overall project costs and is looking for ideas that can demonstrate long-term commercial impacts and opportunities for widespread knowledge sharing, contributing to the sector’s overarching ambition for sustainable growth as well as SAIC’s aim to increase the economic impact and reduce the environmental footprint of aquaculture.

The new call for proposals builds on an investment to date of around £9.37 million for 65 collaborative research projects. For every £1 invested by SAIC, the innovation centre has so far generated an additional £3 of industry investment, helping to unlock valuable developments that can benefit the entire sector – in Scotland, the rest of the UK, and internationally.