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Supporting green innovations in the marine sector

Published 21/06/2022 by Christine Rolin 4 min read

Christine Rolin, senior project manager for the GreenOffshoreTech project on behalf of HIE, takes a closer look at the project’s first call for proposals and how SMEs can access innovation funding.

With two thirds of the UK coastline in the Highlands and Islands, the marine sector is a major contributor to the region’s economy. It includes aquaculture, marine renewables, marine biotechnology, coastal and marine tourism and life sciences companies.

Through multi-national research project, GreenOffshoreTech, a unique opportunity is being provided for Scottish businesses operating in the marine sector to connect and collaborate with likeminded, ambitious enterprises from European partner regions.

Businesses will be supported to develop and commercialise new ideas for greener, cleaner and sustainable products and services. There are only two weeks left for businesses to apply for funding and support so we would like to urge businesses to apply before the looming deadline.

My role is to represent HIE in the international consortium of 15 European partners. I’ll be engaging with businesses across Scotland interested in participating in the EU GreenOffshoreTech project.

The project aims to support innovation in businesses to achieve economic and environmental sustainability in the marine environment by applying new technologies.

The international consortium was granted €5m from Horizon 2020 to directly support at least 100 businesses across Europe to make offshore production and transport cleaner, greener and more sustainable through technology driven re-industrialisation. These activities will help our region transition towards a resource efficient economy.

GreenOffshoreTech focuses on four key industry sectors: offshore wind energy, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas and water-borne transport as well as four emerging technology sectors: advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and digitalisation, environment technologies and new energy carriers.

The project is a fantastic opportunity for businesses who have a great idea to be supported to progress from conception to production. They will benefit from the creation of an Open Space to enable future collaborations and attempts to support them to grow their business.

We’ll provide a structured framework for businesses to deliver innovation support through direct financial support as well as offering a range of dedicated support services for them. Many innovative ideas struggle to move from concept to production. The GreenOffshoreTech project specifically seeks to help SMEs overcome this hurdle in the development process by funding projects at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 – 6, a phase known as ‘The Innovation Valley of Death’. 

Through a 3-Phase accelerator programme, SMEs will unlock up to a total of €60,000 (projects are 100% funded) and up to 8 business support services:

  • In Phase 1, the top 100 projects will access €5000 and access business services to develop an initial business plan including B2B networking across the European cluster groups.
  • In Phase 2, the top 50 projects will be selected based on Phase 1. SMEs will receive €45,000 and business support services to develop a prototype. Key services will include one to one business coaching, branding and investor pitching training. Finally, all top 50 projects will have an opportunity to pitch to real investors.
  • The top 25 projects will receive a final €10,000 to help grow their business.

It was great to see a range of businesses operating in the marine sector attending a webinar on 31 May, which was hosted by the consortium partners. Elaine Jamieson, head of the blue economy at HIE and Sven Blanck from Composites United laid out the details of the application process and the 3-phase accelerator programme. Any potential applicants can access the recorded webinar at www.greenoffshoretech.com/library/

For further information and to access the full application package, find out more here www.hie.co.uk/support/browse-all-support-services/green-offshore-tech-open-funding-call.

For anyone interested in making offshore production sectors clean, green and sustainable, we’d love to hear from you! Applications close on 6 July.

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