Planning go-ahead for university’s £17m aquaculture hub
A £17 million aquaculture research and innovation facility at the University of Stirling has moved a step closer, after the plans were approved by Stirling Council.
The National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub (NATIH), which builds on the University’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA), will bring together experimental aquatic facilities, including a new tropical aquarium, with state-of-the-art laboratories, and space dedicated to business incubation and acceleration.
The Hub is funded through a £17m investment from the UK Government, as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. The Deal involves a £90.2m investment from the UK Government and Scottish Government in innovation and infrastructure that will drive inclusive economic growth throughout the region.
Regional partners, including Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, and the University of Stirling, will invest up to £123.8m, resulting in a Deal worth more than £214m, to be delivered over the next 10 to 15 years.
The business case for the NATIH has yet to be approved by the funding government and is expected to happen during 2022. Work on the building should start next year.
NATIH is designed to position the university’s aquaculture expertise at the forefront of aquaculture expansion, delivering and increasing the economic, social and environmental benefits for the industry, and informing modern commercial aquaculture markets.
In a press release, the university saod the impact of this work will be felt both in Scotland and internationally, where the aquaculture sector has a prominent footprint in Africa, Asia and South America.
IoA head Professor Simon MacKenzie said: “This is an important milestone in the development of the National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub. There is an enormous role for aquaculture to play in ensuring that the world has a secure and sustainable supply of food.
“The Hub will develop and reinforce a strong working relationship between the university’s researchers and the global aquaculture industry, ensuring that the ideas, interventions and solutions developed will have a meaningful impact where they are needed most, and deliver jobs, growth and prosperity.”
Vanguard of research
Stirling Council depute leader Chris Kane said: “It is fantastic to see City Region Deal projects move even further into delivery phase, especially one like this, which can bring growth and investment to the area.
“This is a blossoming stream of environmental research and the university’s work through the City Region Deal investment places Stirling at its vanguard, cementing the city’s reputation as hub of innovation.”
UK Government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said the investment “will keep Scotland at the cutting edge of a global industry, bring in new jobs and investment, and ensure sustainability remains at the forefront”.