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Marine-i partners gather at the Chi Gallos Marine Renewables Business Park to launch the ERDF funded project.

European funding launches Marine-i to provide support to marine businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Up to £6.8m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been secured to develop marine technology research, development and innovation activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Marine-i, a £9.3m collaboration between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult brings together key infrastructure and expertise to enable the generation of new innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s marine sector, which has been identified as an area of high growth potential. Marine-i forms part of the recently announced Marine Hub Cornwall sector collaboration, which will bring together all of Cornwall’s marine expertise, helping the region to compete with other key markets globally. Marine Hub Cornwall is a world class centre for marine technology. A collection of physical sites offering the best infrastructure for marine in the UK as well as a world-leading network of thought leaders and research facilities.

Marine-i will focus on four interconnected themes: marine energy, marine manufacturing, maritime operations and marine environmental technologies, to stimulate and support business-led and market-driven research and development and innovation to drive productivity and the exploitation of new market opportunities.

The Marine-i team will include the innovation managers and business research fellows from the partners who will provide direct business to business technology innovation support to SMEs, and will act as the conduit to access the wide range of specialist services and facilities that are available within the project. Marine-i will be based at ‘Chi Gallos’, a bespoke office complex at the heart of the Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park, and will also support businesses wishing to access the £3.18m Marine Challenge Fund – a delegated grant scheme that has been specifically designed to drive marine sector research, development and innovation.

Further activities are also planned to encourage and enable businesses to gain access to the region’s key research and development and innovation assets, facilities, knowledge and expertise required to develop new and improved products, improve business processes and downstream applications which will create well paid skilled jobs.

Strengthening the Marine Hub Cornwall offer is the recently enhanced infrastructure at Wave Hub. A European Regional Development Fund investment of £2.1m supported the project which recently completed at the site 16km offshore from the world-class facility based in Hayle. Installation of additional subsea cables makes the Wave Hub site an even more attractive proposition for offshore renewable energy developers to demonstrate and prove their technology. The project attracted £1m of private sector investment.

Project manager Professor Lars Johanning said, “Marine-i will strengthen business innovation and has been set up in direct response to the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly marine roadmap to secure the continued growth of this sector. There is an expectation that as the regional commercial infrastructure grows, the marine sector will grow in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through smart innovations benefiting from the expertise and skills within the local supply chain and academia. This funding provides a unique opportunity for businesses to enhance expertise and create jobs through collaboration and co-creation”

Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy said, “I’m really excited about this project, the marine technology sector is very important to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The investments we have already made in Wave Hub and the Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park, make new projects like this one possible. Our unique location as well as the expertise and experience available will make us front runners in the emerging sector and will create well paid jobs for our residents. “

Date: 10 March 2017