The University of Plymouth has played a critical role in enabling a major maritime regeneration and innovation project in North Devon to secure Government funding.
The Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre has been awarded £15.6m of funding from the Levelling Up Fund issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The facility will become a centre of excellence for clean-propulsion shipbuilding and Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) innovation, reinforcing the University’s position at the forefront of the UK’s decarbonisation and net-zero agenda.
There will also be a focus on the development of seaweed biproducts such as plastic replacements and pharmaceuticals, areas for which the University has a global reputation.
“The Government’s investment in these exciting and innovative plans is a further endorsement of the South West’s role as the UK’s clean energy powerhouse. The University of Plymouth is delighted to provide project leadership around offshore renewables and clean maritime innovation and the Appledore Innovation Centre provides further opportunity to lead in the development of emerging but critically important technologies combined with skills development. At the same time, we will be transforming a site with a proud maritime heritage into a cutting edge facility that ignites its clean maritime future.”
Professor Judith Petts CBE
Expected to open in 2025, the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre will transform Middle Dock – next to the Harland & Wolff shipyard – so that it features cutting-edge research and industry partnerships.
In addition to the University, the project has already received backing from a range of globally innovative partners, as well as government agencies such as the National Shipbuilding Office, and the University of Exeter.
The complex will be a catalyst for jobs and economic regeneration in the area, with forecasts indicating it could create around 90 jobs and bring an estimated injection of over £60 million into the local economy over the next 30 years.
A key role of the centre is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers with dedicated space set aside for education and engagement activities.
Working together with the two university research partners, Petroc – and the staff within its University Centre – will be driving a pipeline of courses to develop skills locally for roles in clean maritime, environmental management and preparing for the future green hydrogen deployment.
Local educational initiatives will work in tandem with regional partners under the banner of the South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT), in which the University of Plymouth is a partner, and international partners such as the Moroccan renewable college group IFMEREE.
The next phases will see the Innovation Centre’s design team, led by officers from Torridge District Council, progressing and finalising design proposals ready for a planning submission later in 2023.
The work will also include strengthening engagement with local and national key partners to ensure businesses are geared up and ready to move in as soon as the centre opens.
Councillor Ken James, Leader of Torridge District Council, said:
“This is fantastic news for Torridge and the wider area of northern Devon and a testimony to the hard work of everyone involved in submitting the ultimately successful bid to the Government. We are grateful for the funding that will now allow the proposals to be taken forward on what promises to be a truly cutting edge project to capitalise on the future direction of maritime engineering in what is already a fast-moving sector. The benefit to jobs and income for the area will be a huge boost for both Torridge and the wider Devon economy.”
The investment will create jobs and opportunities in North Devon
Read more information linked to this article
Clean Maritime Technologies
Centre for Decarbonisation and Offshore Renewable Energy
International Marine Litter Research Unit