A consortium of marine renewable energy experts across higher education, research and industry have joined together to establish a ‘network of excellence’.
The Universities of Plymouth, Exeter, Southampton, Bristol and Bath, along with the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, have agreed to work together on research projects across the spectrum of marine renewables.
Completing the line-up of the Partnership for Research in Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) is the South West Marine Energy Park and the Wave Hub facility off the north coast of Cornwall, who will act as conduits between the research community and industry.
The partnership will help ensure the sustained growth of marine renewable research and development in the South, similar to the success that consortia in Scotland and Wales have enjoyed.
Deborah Greaves, Professor of Marine Engineering, and the current chair of PRIMaRE, said:
“Individually, we have an array of institutions who have earned world-class reputations for marine research. Collectively, however, we can create a critical mass of expertise, a network of excellence across the South of England. By harnessing the breadth of our expertise, and opening up our facilities to one another, we can bid for a broader range of projects, and secure research funding and opportunities for the south of the country.”
PRIMaRE was originally launched in 2007 as a peninsula-focused research collaboration between Plymouth, Exeter and Wave Hub. But following the signing of a seven-year memorandum of understanding, the group has welcomed the Universities of Southampton, Bristol and Bath, as well as the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and the Plymouth-based Marine Biological Association. In addition to its membership, it has also expanded its research focus to include off-shore wind power.
The relaunch of PRIMaRE was confirmed at its first annual conference, held in Plymouth over two days, at which more than 100 members of academia and the industry heard from experts and keynote speakers.
The University of Exeter will take over chairing the group this month, a position that will rotate between the members on an annual basis.
Professor Lars Johanning, the new chair of PRIMaRE said:
“With the aim to foster a multi-institutional world-class research cluster in all aspects of marine renewable energy in the South West, the collective network has gathered a strength essential to support the fast growing Marine Renewable Energy sector, providing essential research to accelerate commercial realisation. Working closely with industry and the national and international centres such as South West Marine Energy Park (SWMEP), the UK Centre for Marine Energy (UKCMER), the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI), Wave Energy Centre (WavEC) PRIMaRE is committed to implement essential research activities.”
Chief Executive of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Professor Stephen de Mora, added:
“We are delighted to be a partner in this extended collaboration. The seas around southern England have some of the greatest potential to match our growing energy demands, and the combined experience, expertise and knowledge of the partners provides the ideal forum to ensure we harness this potential in an environmentally sustainable way.”