Companies in Scotland and Japan are set to receive £9 million in funding to collaborate on the development of innovative subsea technology.
Funding will be provided by Scottish Enterprise alongside the Nippon Foundation, and follows a similar investment last year which earmarked £7 million for five research programmes.
The announcement was made during a visit by Scottish external affairs secretary, Fiona Hyslop, to Japan this week. The initiative aims to foster closer ties between the two countries and will see 12 Scottish firms partner with Japanese counterparts on six projects.
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Commenting on the funding announcement, Hyslop said: “I am encouraged by the continued collaboration between Scotland and Japan in marine resource development and subsea technologies. In Scotland’s Climate Week, it’s good to see that a number of these projects contribute directly to reducing long-term CO2 emissions.
“The Scottish Government is committed to retaining our position as a global leader in subsea engineering – investing in our innovation infrastructure to grow Scotland’s market share and supporting opportunities in other sectors.”
Combined with investment from the companies themselves, nearly £21 million in total will be dedicated to industrial research and development.
The proposed projects, led by companies from Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh, will inject £8.3 million in funding for development of offshore and subsea IoT (Internet of Things) infrastructure as well as a digital system which monitors floating structures.
Companies involved in the initiative include WFS Technologies and Sensor Works, both based in Livingston. Edinburgh firm Sustainable Marine Energy and Aberdeen-based Precision Impulse are also included.
Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, welcomed the investment and hailed the initiative as a “unique opportunity” to boost engagement between industry and academia in both Scotland and Japan.
He said: “Globally the Blue Economy is forecast to be worth £140 billion by 2035 and Scottish companies who can develop disruptive technology can capitalise on this opportunity.
“The increase in funding is in direct response to the success of the first call and the quality of submissions for the second call. Led by Scottish Enterprise, this initiative is a unique opportunity to engage with industry and academia across Scotland and Japan, renowned for their development of innovative technology.”
David Rennie, head of partnerships at Scottish Enterprise, added: “It is fantastic to see these projects coming to fruition and we are delighted to work with partners here in Scotland and Japan to support.”