A new innovation centre which aims to create jobs and support the growth, sustainability and profitability of the aquaculture industry in Scotland is to be based at Stirling University Innovation Park.
The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) will bring together industry and research to provide innovative solutions with the aim of growing the already substantial contribution aquaculture makes to the Scottish economy.
It will be headquartered at the University of Stirling and will have a local delivery centre in the Western Highlands. Public sector funding will be channelled through the University of Stirling, which acts as Administrative Hub, on behalf of the SAIC.
The SAIC will focus on areas such as fish and shellfish health and welfare; feeding, quality and nutrition; breeding and stock improvement and engineering to contribute towards increased production of clean, safe and sustainable food.
The centre has been jointly funded by the Scottish Funding Council (in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise), and matched by the Scottish aquaculture industry.
Through the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government is providing £124 million funding for Innovation Centres over the next six years. The SAIC is the latest to be created, receiving £11.1million funding.
Launching the new centre at the Royal Highland Show last Friday, the Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The aquaculture industry is increasingly important to the Scottish economy supporting employment in many fragile rural communities. If the industry’s 2020 sustainable production targets are met this could mean a turn-over value of £2 billion to the Scottish economy every year and the on-going support of 10,000 jobs.
“For this to be fully realised, the sector must continue to demonstrate its commitment to improved environmental performance and sustainable growth; aided by a research and academic community that is well positioned to underpin the sustainable that development of the sector.
“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of the industry and this investment illustrates we are serious about investing in its sustainable growth through innovation.
“The SAIC will help the academic and research community understand the needs of the industry and help the industry understand the assistance that can be delivered through research.
“Innovation Centres are large-scale, ambitious projects of excellence. They are part of a cultural shift that is necessary to bring the innovation and creativity we want to see at the heart of our businesses.”