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SAIC unlocks new funding to encourage innovation amid economic uncertainty

SAIC Portnalong fish farm

THE Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has opened a new funding call for collaborative innovation projects, helping the sector to continue with vital research and development as cost-of-living pressures rise.

More than £500,000 will be split between successful project proposals designed to future-proof Scottish aquaculture and support sustainable growth while minimising its environmental impact. Collaborative research teams involving experts from across the sector, along with Scottish Higher Education Institutions are invited to submit their applications before the 7th December deadline.

SAIC said that ongoing discussions across its network and members point towards a strong pipeline of opportunities that could progress into funded projects, highlighting the importance of research for building resilience against challenges such as the current economic pressures.

In each proposal, research teams must demonstrate meaningful and measurable impact for the sector. They should also align with SAIC’s three priority innovation areas: addressing environmental and health challenges, unlocking additional capacity in the sector through new technology or processes to secure sustainable growth, or a focus on shellfish and other non-finfish species. Projects should be ready to begin next spring and must be completed by July 2024.

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Recent SAIC-backed collaborations – including three projects valued at a combined £1.1m – involve efforts to use artificial intelligence and imaging technology to support environmental monitoring, as well as research to boost the use of cleaner fish as an effective, sustainable treatment for sea lice.

Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, said: “Particularly during challenging times, it is important to continue supporting innovation that will help to shape the future of aquaculture. Collaborative research and knowledge sharing is helping to drive the whole sector forward, making it more efficient and more sustainable so that it can continue to fulfil the rising demand for high-quality protein for years to come.

“We look forward to receiving a range of proposals representing all parts of the sector, including initiatives that address the impact of climate change on farming conditions, as well as projects closely linked to the aims of the Farmed Fish Health Framework – a collaboration between the sector and the Scottish Government.

“Scotland has a wealth of expertise and experience in aquaculture to draw upon and we are keen to support initiatives that reflect that, unlocking opportunities that support rural communities, small businesses and a global supply chain.”

For more information and to complete an application form,

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