A consortium of industry, research and local government bodies has submitted a plan to Government that would confirm the South West’s position at the global forefront of ocean technology research and innovation.
The Ocean Futures programme creates a blueprint for the region’s future blue economy and identifies the South West’s key strengths in fields including marine autonomy, digital innovation and the development of clean maritime technologies.
In a detailed prospectus, partners from across the region have set out how they will work together to ensure the South West builds on its impressive maritime heritage, extensive research assets and industrial capability to continue leading the world in the sustainable exploitation of the ocean.
It outlines a programme of investment that, if approved, would provide continued support to develop a highly-skilled workforce, increase innovation in marine technology businesses, and further expand the region’s R&D infrastructure.
It would also introduce activity to stimulate exports and generate opportunities for inward investment, all co-designed by industry, research and public sector partners.
Ocean Futures is designed to form a key pillar of the country’s ambition to be a global marine and maritime science and innovation superpower, at the heart of a sector projected to be worth $3trillion globally by 2030.
The consortium is being spearheaded by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the University of Plymouth, Plymouth City Council, Maritime UK South West, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Thales Group.
In total, it involves almost 40 businesses, universities, government bodies and existing partnership from across Devon and Somerset and the wider South West.
The partners envisage that an initial investment of £20 million – requested from the Government as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review – could generate additional private investment and new jobs, helping to deliver several of the Government’s priorities including clean maritime, floating offshore wind, global trade and levelling up.