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Forward thinking Highland firms encouraged to apply to HIE administered fund

By Calum MacLeod

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Elaine Jamieson takes the lead on the 'blue economy' for HIE.
Elaine Jamieson takes the lead on the 'blue economy' for HIE.

North marine sector businesses can call on support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to bring their innovative ideas into reality.

Firms can apply via the development agency for European funding aimed at supporting and encouraging collaboration, particularly in areas relating to low carbon.

The new multi-national research project, GreenOffshoreTech, aims to support innovation in small and medium sizes enterprises (SMEs) to achieve economic and environmental sustainability in the marine environment.

The project is being funded from the EU’s research and innovation programme, the €80 billion Horizon 2020.

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

The project involves nine European partners and was recently granted a total of €5 million from Horizon 2020 to support the implementation of GreenOffshoreTech. Led by Moss region business development in Norway, HIE is the UK partner and has been awarded €220,000 for a three-year period.

GreenOffshoreTech is also working with partners in Iceland, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Latvia, and Poland.

Through a competitive model, partners will work with the successful companies to provide a structured framework to drive innovation, direct financial support and provide a range of dedicated and tailored business support services.

Elaine Jamieson, head of food and drink at HIE and who leads on the marine economy for the agency, said: “Innovation is critical in ensuring our region plays a full role in Scotland’s economic recovery and transition to net zero.

"We are embracing this opportunity, which will benefit our region’s marine businesses and enable them to innovate and advance through implementing new technologies. The project will help companies to connect and collaborate with clusters and businesses across the blue economy in other regions or countries during and beyond the project.”

More information will be available as the project starts in September 2021.

To find out more visit https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101005541

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