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Research facilities and
contract services

We aim to provide the highest standard of facilities and consultancy services in an ever-changing commercial, academic and regulatory environment.

Our high standards

We strive to operate to the highest possible standards with our services.

Our research facilities are licensed and inspected by the UK Home Office. We undertake regulatory studies in compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). All sites are licensed and inspected by regulatory authorities, including the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Marine Scotland Fish Health Inspectorate.

Research facilities

Our laboratories provide facilities to conduct pioneering and commercially relevant research in partnership with leading aquaculture companies.

We’ve four research facilities providing a range of environmental conditions: marine, freshwater, temperate and tropical. Our systems include recirculating aquaculture systems, challenge unit, constant temperature rooms, hatchery and invertebrate. 

Our sites are:

  • Niall Bromage Fresh Water Research Unit (NBFRU) at Buckieburn, Denny

    We have a total of 42 flow through holding units of various volumes, ranging from 0.8 m3 to large 25 m3. Each of these systems can be run in distinct groups, from one unit to twenty; these can be monitored and data logged daily for various water quality parameters. Additional oxygenation is available using a high capacity oxygen injection system.

    The unit has a dedicated sterile room for live fish work as well as a laboratory for further detailed analysis. This feature allows greater flexibility in the timeframes for research experiments and the investigation of species allowing increased capacity to deliver a range of projects.

    The facility also has full temperature controlled recirculation units of up to 24, 800 litre tanks, as well as a dedicated on site hatchery with computer controlled monitoring and full solunar lighting for out of season work as well as fully integrated feeding systems.

    The unit is fully compliant with European Union and UK Home Office legislation in conducting a wide variety of activities, such as:

    • environmental manipulation and monitoring of experimental parameters
    • production of triploid stock and effect on their physiology
    • sex reversal and manipulation of sexual differentiation
    • immune function
    • vaccination studies
    • vaccine safety tests
    • larval / juvenile / broodstock fish performance
    • x-ray feed intake performance
    • production of research robust stock

    Benefits of using our facilities and services:

    • improved animal health, welfare and resilience
    • improved industry performance
    • improved industry sustainability
    • reduced environmental impacts

    Please contact Alastair McPhee at a.m.mcphee@stir.ac.uk to find out more.

  • Marine Environmental Research Laboratory (MERL) at Machrihanish, Campbeltown

    We have a total of 151 flow-through and recirculation tanks ranging from 0.1m3 - 13m3, including a dedicated quarantine facility, and equipped with environmental monitoring and a liquid oxygen supply. Seawater can be filtered, sterilised and temperature controlled. Several experimental systems of up to 30 identical tanks are available for replicate trials.

    Bespoke systems can be built to meet requirements for size, water quality, feeding, lighting and other variables. The laboratory is licensed for animal research and fully compliant with European Union and UK legislation. We maintain Atlantic salmon on site for trials aimed at improving salmon and trout aquaculture in Scotland and around the world.

    We run a range of studies including fish nutrition and performance, selective breeding, triploidy and environmental control technologies. Most commercial work on site takes advantage of our challenge models of sea lice and amoebic gill disease (AGD). Controlled infections allow us to offer the following in drug development services, to GLP if required:

    • in vivo safety testing
    • pharmacokinetics
    • in vivo efficacy testing against sea lice, including drug-naïve sea lice
    • bioassays on farm isolates for drug sensitivity, starting with just a few gravid female lice.

    Please contact Chessor Matthew at c.a.matthew@stir.ac.uk or visit aqua.stir.ac.uk to find out more.

    Stirling Analytical Platforms, University of Stirling

    Stirling Experimental Aquatic Facilities, University of Stirling

Contract research services

We offer a long-established and successful contract research service that supports the development and testing of products for use in aquaculture and fisheries, including parasiticides, antibiotics, vaccines, feeds and feed additives.

Our laboratories conduct pioneering fundamental research and commercially relevant research in partnership with leading aquaculture companies.

 We work in all the key priority research areas, including:

  • genomic, molecular and bioinformatics
  • microbiology and immunology
  • imaging facilities
  • nutrition analytical services
  • water quality services

Contact us

Please contact us if you would like to know more about using our facilities.

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