Wales, UK Funding for more collaborative research projects between small and medium-sized businesses and universities in Wales was announced on 8 September by the principality’s deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.
Bangor University’s SEACAMS (Sustainable Expansion of the Applied Coastal and Marine Sectors) project got a go-ahead after picking up EU backing of £12.6m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.
The project aims to turn cutting edge research ideas into new processes, services and technologies to encourage over 450 businesses to grow, create new high tech jobs and win more global contracts.
As part of the project, a new Innovation Centre will be set up at the University’s School of Ocean Sciences (SOS) at Menai Bridge, Anglesey. The centre will provide laboratory and computing facilities for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
These SMEs will also have access to the 40-metre SOS research ship Prince Madog to focus studies on tackling the impact of climate change such as coastal erosion, flooding, water quality and offshore energy generation.
“Increasing commercial activity and promoting inward investment in the marine science sector will help secure high quality jobs and contribute to making Wales an international hub for this growing sector,” said Jones, also minister for the economy and transport.
Professor Colin Jago of the School of Ocean Sciences (SOS) at Bangor University said:
“Wales is strategically situated to exploit the rapid expansion of the offshore energy industry that is already taking place in the Irish Sea. It is imperative that we coordinate our research and business initiatives so that Wales plays a leading role in this industry and SEACAMS is an important component in that process.”
The project is led by Bangor University in collaboration with partners at Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities, who are also funding the project with further backing from the Countryside Council for Wales.
“Wales has unrivalled academic expertise in coastal marine science. SEACAMS will provide access to this for the benefit of research and development in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the coastal and marine sector of Wales. It will also provide opportunities for marine science graduates to continue their careers in Wales instead of having to leave,” said Dr Gay Mitchelson-Jacob, the project manager.