The National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub (NATIH), which will build on the University’s Institute of Aquaculture, has been awarded a Wolfson Foundation grant to support research to improve modern aquaculture practice with a focus on sustainability and increase the economic, social and environmental benefits of aquaculture.
Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for experimental science, NATIH, funded through £17 million of UK government investment as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, will allow researchers to tackle the major challenges facing aquaculture producers, such as fish welfare and managing environmental impacts, working with local and international partners.
The Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal is a £90.2m investment from the UK government and Scottish government in innovation and infrastructure that will drive inclusive economic growth throughout the region. Regional partners, including Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, and the University of Stirling, will invest up to £123.8m, resulting in a deal worth more than £214m, to be delivered over the next 10 to 15 years.
Professor Simon MacKenzie, head of the Institute of Aquaculture, said that “the call from the Wolfson Foundation was for high-quality research with clear impact, and we’re delighted the judges recognized NATIH’s potential to support sustainable, resilient and secure aquatic food systems that enable health and prosperity for people and for the planet.”
“Building on the initial investment by the UK government and the Institute of Aquaculture’s global network, NATIH will enable us to build an innovation community in Stirling and Clackmannanshire that nurtures jobs and skills, turning scientific research into practical, applied solutions that support economic development in communities from rural Scotland to South America, Africa and the Middle East. We welcome further investment and partnerships,” MacKenzie said.
NATIH, due to open in 2024, will bring together experimental aquatic facilities, including a new tropical aquarium, with state-of-the-art laboratories, and space dedicated to business incubation and acceleration.
UK government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said that “Scotland has a global reputation for its aquaculture expertise that underpins the prosperity of many rural and coastal communities. I am glad that UK government's £17m support for the aquaculture innovation hub has already helped unlock further investment that will secure a sustainable future for the industry. This is part of more than £2 billion of regional investment by the UK government for leveling up right across Scotland.”