University to play key role in South West maritime consortium

The University of Plymouth is one of the key players in a new partnership designed to build stronger links between the South West marine and maritime sector and national government.

Maritime UK South West has been created through a collaboration between the South Coast Marine Cluster and Cornwall Marine Network, becoming part of the national body Maritime UK.

It will work with industry and academia, contributing expertise in business growth support and demand-led skills to enable greater collaboration and support for business development across the region.

The University has world-leading expertise in maritime research and teaching, in fields including maritime cyber security, marine autonomy, sustainable offshore development and clean growth.

Its work through Maritime UK South West will enable it to build on its existing efforts to make specialist facilities and knowledge of the research base accessible to industry.

Kevin Forshaw, Director of Industrial and Strategic Partnerships in the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, co-founded the South Coast Marine Cluster in 2016. He said:

“Both the University and wider South West region have a huge amount of expertise across the maritime sector. By raising the profile of our world-leading industry and research strengths to UK Government, we can hopefully ensure that further investment in infrastructure and support is made. This will enable the region to make the most of emerging opportunities in the global ocean economy.”

The creation of Maritime UK South West is part of Maritime UK's programme to create regional cluster organisations in leading maritime regions across the country, modelled on the body for the Liverpool City Region, Mersey Maritime.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani, who recently visited the University to see its marine and maritime expertise in action, said:

“Maritime clusters have a significant impact on the regional and national economy which is why it’s fantastic to see the launch of this new partnership in the South West. Through our Maritime 2050 Strategy we want to see more strong regional maritime clusters which drive innovation, ambition and create a critical mass of expertise and skills. The South West has great strengths in marine autonomy, renewables and the clean maritime innovation which are critical to the future of the sector.”

The South Coast Marine Cluster is currently resourced through investment from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and the Local Enterprise Partnerships covering Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, The Heart of the South West, and Dorset.

Through the new partnership, it plans to ramp up its offer to business and the sector by launching a new a sponsorship and partnering model, while the Cornwall Marine Network’s successful marine employer membership model will be expanded across the South West.