New innovation fund announced for Scottish aquaculture
A rapid response funding call designed to support Scotland’s aquaculture sector as it traverses the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help it adapt commercially and operationally, has been launched by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).
Through the package, SAIC will provide funding of up to GBP 50,000 (USD 63,450, EUR 55,477) to successful applicants, with business partners expected to match or exceed the investment through financial and in-kind contributions.
It advises that the rapid response projects should have a duration of less than one year, with at least one consortium partner based in Scotland. They should also align with one of the innovation center’s priority areas: supporting enhancements to fish health and welfare; strengthening the market for shellfish and other non-finfish species; and unlocking the sector’s capacity for development.
While COVID-19 has been a significant challenge to aquaculture, it is beginning to turn the corner towards recovery, which offers the opportunity to introduce new, innovative ways of working, SAIC Director of Business Engagement Sarah Riddle said.
“The sector can use this time as a catalyst for change – whether it is the development of more efficient processes or amplifying the ongoing focus on sustainability," Riddle said. "Our new rapid-response funding call will support the sector through the months ahead, remaining open to allow for new projects and ideas as the situation evolves.”
Riddle explained that a decision on each initiative will be made within 10 weeks of submission and that SAIC is “particularly keen” to hear from SMEs with ideas in the sector and supply chain.
“SAIC has a core commitment to encouraging collaboration and there has never been a more important time for the sector to come together and work towards a successful, sustainable future,” she said.
Last month, the Scottish government announced that aquaculture businesses affected by the collapse of international markets as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic can apply to have the costs of maintaining unsold stock through a GBP 1.25 million (USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.4 million) fund. This scheme, which is being funded by the E.U. European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), is compensating businesses for the costs of transport, processing and cold storage for salmon, trout, and shellfish until the end of 2020.
Photo courtesy of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre