The University of Stirling has joined forces with North Ayrshire Council to grow the ‘blue economy’ in the west of Scotland.
Under the Ayrshire Growth Deal, the University will bring its expertise in aquatic science, environmental monitoring and data analytics to the Council’s plans to build a marine science centre and business hub at Ardrossan.
The £10.5 million International Marine Science and Environmental Centre (IMSE) will bring together researchers, business and industry to design, prototype and test solutions to commercial challenges, turning the Firth of Clyde into a ‘living laboratory’ for marine sustainability.
The infrastructure at coastal Hunterston, around the decommissioned power stations, will also be developed as part of the deal, which will involve communities to create jobs, skills and inclusive economic growth for the region.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed last week between the University of Stirling and North Ayrshire Council builds on similar agreements last year between the Council, Peel Ports and Scottish Enterprise, with Crown Estates Scotland next on the list.
Principal and Vice Chancellor at the University of Stirling, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, said: “Our goal at the University of Stirling is to produce research that makes a difference, not just to the development of knowledge, but to people, businesses and communities.
“Working in partnership with North Ayrshire Council through the Ayrshire Growth Deal, we will use our world-leading expertise in aquaculture and environmental science to help grow the ‘blue economy’ of the Ayrshire region, Scotland, and beyond.
“Together, we will create a ‘living laboratory’ that will transform ideas into jobs, skills and opportunities, and support a thriving, sustainable regional economy.”
Principal and Vice Chancellor at the University of Stirling
Our goal at the University of Stirling is to produce research that makes a difference, not just to the development of knowledge, but to people, businesses and communities.
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are at fairly early stages of our vision for the Blue Economy but what is clear already is that there is real untapped potential here in North Ayrshire.
“With the decommissioning of Hunterston B nuclear power station underway it is vital that we see this as an opportunity to build something new, lasting and exciting for North Ayrshire.
“There is a wide range of blue economy activities that can be supported at Hunterston recognising the range of infrastructure assets present and, therefore, the versatility of Hunterston to be able to support a wide range of high-value activities. It will complement our Ayrshire Growth Deal- funded International Marine Science and Environment Centre and other regional assets.
“The University of Stirling is a fantastic partner to have on board – they are a leading international centre for environmental sciences and aquaculture research, working with industry, regulators and policymakers to make a meaningful difference to business and communities. It is exciting to see the Ayrshire Growth Deal starting to have a real impact by increasing university activity and presence here in North Ayrshire. This will be a major asset in developing a broad range of new skills and employment opportunities.
“Crown Estate Scotland will help us explore land opportunities to take advantage of what we have available on our doorstep.”
Leader of North Ayrshire Council
It is exciting to see the Ayrshire Growth Deal starting to have a real impact by increasing university activity and presence here in North Ayrshire. This will be a major asset in developing a broad range of new skills and employment opportunities.