Innovators urged to apply for slice of GBP 10 million seafood fund

Published on
February 14, 2020

Innovative ideas and projects targeted at boosting the United Kingdom’s seafood sector can receive funding up to GBP 250,000 (USD 323,841, EUR 296,756) through a second round of the GBP 10 million (USD 13 million, EUR 11.9 million) U.K. Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF).

The fund opened to applications on 7 February and will close on 20 April, 2020.

Robotics, artificial intelligence, fishing gear innovations, and biomedical advances were some of the successful funding recipients in the first round.

“We are looking for projects that can genuinely transform or disrupt the seafood industry. These should be innovative ideas that aim to make a significant improvement to the future sustainability, profitability and efficiency of any part of the seafood sector,” SIF Chair and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of East Anglia Professor Fiona Lettice said.

Among those fisheries projects funded in 2019, one aims to tackle the issue of seabird bycatch by researching and developing improved ways to sink longlines below the surface. Another aims to investigate how data can be better used in the industry, setting out to create efficiencies and resilience across the seafood supply chain, and facilitate compliance with fisheries management.

Within the aquaculture sector, R&D funding has gone to support the development of “Inocubot 2,” an AI robot designed to improve fish welfare and deliver economic efficiencies for fish farms. Another successful application is seeking to explore opportunities to expand the country’s kelp farming sector by creating new high-value products for human consumption.

As well as encouraging bids from experts in the fishing, aquaculture, and seafood processing, SIF wants to receive applications from outside the sector, as well as from collaborative consortia.

“We are keen to hear from innovative thinkers in tech, engineering, data science and app development, whose expertise could bring new insights to benefit the future of U.K. seafood,” Lettice said.

Applicants can apply for up to GBP 50,000 (USD 64,771, EUR 59,347) for a three-month feasibility study, or up to GBP 250,000 to fund a research and development project running for up to 18 months.

SIF said match funding is not essential, and all applications are subject to an external review process.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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