Salmon farming contributes millions to research coordinated by SAIC. Photo: SAIC.

Aquaculture innovators offered share of £2.9m research cash

The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) if offering significant new grant funding for industry-led, collaborative applied research and development projects that offer solutions to issues affecting the Scottish aquaculture sector.

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SAIC is inviting applied R&D proposals that must be scientifically robust. They will be assessed by SAIC’s Independent Scientific Panel.

Projects must also be able to demonstrate that they are leading towards potential economic benefit to the Scottish economy.

Projects up to £440k

SAIC will consider funding proposals up to the value of £440,000 (full project costs) from its £2.9m funding pot. This represents a SAIC contribution of up to £200,000, paid at 80% Full Economic Costs to the academic partner(s). Proposals should be match-funded by industry partners.

It also welcomes shorter, smaller scale projects such as those under £100,000 total project value, under 12 months total project duration.

All proposals must be relevant to at least one of SAIC’s Priority Innovation Areas (PIAs):

  • Addressing environmental and health challenges, particularly sea lice and gill disease, and developing feeds that optimise fish health and nutrition;
  • Unlocking additional capacity in Scottish aquaculture;
  • Shellfish and other non-finfish species.

The deadline for expressions of interest in SAIC’s funding package is March 12, and the submission deadline for full applications is May 7.

More funding

In November last year SAIC secured £10 million in public funding for the next five years, a 48% increase on the £6.75m it received for its first five-year term.

The investment – provided by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – is expected to be supplemented by an additional £3.5m secured from third parties, ranging from competitive grants to income generated through services.

During its first five-year phase, SAIC turned its £6.75m funding package into a portfolio valued at £42.6m, spread across 47 initiatives. Of the total figure invested, £33.8m came from industry (mostly salmon farming) and other partners. 

Fish health

SAIC’s collaborative research projects include developing diagnostic techniques for assessing fish health and DNA-based methodologies for seabed monitoring, scaling up the use of cleaner fish, treatment of Atlantic salmon gill diseases and improving cleaner fish vaccination.

Find out more about SAIC’s funding offer here.