A new environmental competition aimed at businesses across Scotland has been launched today (Monday 12 January 2015).
The £800,000 competition aims to develop innovative solutions through private-public sector collaboration to recover phosphorus and other nutrients and chemicals from water for beneficial use.
The competition is the first by a public agency in Scotland to use the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), a process which connects public sector challenges with innovative ideas from small companies, microbusinesses and spinouts across all sectors.
Businesses of all sizes are encouraged to enter and potential applicants are being invited to launch events in Inverness on January 12 and Edinburgh on January 29 to receive further information and learn more about the SBRI process.
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for aquatic plants and animals. Even a modest increase in phosphorus can, under the right conditions, have a dramatic negative impact on marine environments including algae blooms, low dissolved oxygen and the death of certain fish.
Priority Substances can also be toxic to water-based organisms and this competition is part of a concerted effort to protect our water environment.
A total of up to £400k (inc VAT) is allocated to phase one of the competition. On successful completion of the feasibility study a total of up to £400k (inc VAT) is allocated to phase two of the competition for prototype development.
This competition forms part of a wider of programme, the Green Growth Group, set up to support and develop green growth and a circular economy in Scotland. The Green Growth Group is jointly administered by Scottish Enterprise and SEPA.
Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), supported by InnovateUK, has worked in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Water Industry Team to fund this SBRI competition for Scotland. Other supporting and advising partners include Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Water, and Scottish Enterprise.
Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon at HIE said: “HIE is delighted to be project managing this SBRI competition for Scotland. It is recognised that some of the most innovative companies employ fewer than ten people. SBRI allows the public sector to engage with these smaller organisations to develop technology solutions for emerging issues and challenges being faced by the public sector, not just in Scotland, but the world over.
“Nutrient recovery and the management of chemicals in our environment are growing ever more important and this competition could be an excellent way of putting a spotlight on a growth opportunity for business.
“The Scottish Government also welcomed the launch of the SBRI competition as another key step in developing Scotland as a Hydro Nation – a nation that not only values and protects its water assets, but grows the water sector too. We are delighted to see this first ever, cross agency, SBRI competition being taken forward to support developments in the water sector and look forward to working to exploring new ideas and approaches.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland commenting on the organisation’s involvement in this initiative said: “This SBRI Competition is designed to encourage businesses to technology solutions to recover phosphorus and/or priority substances from the water environment and, where possible, put these recovered materials to beneficial use.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Scotland as this competition could lead to Scotland becoming a more circular economy, and help SME’s access global opportunities.”
Stephen Browning, Head SBRI: “This is a fantastic start to 2015 with Scotland launching their 1st SBRI competition to drive innovation in the water sector.”