In Autumn 2015 the UK Government announced regional Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) to catalyse a new approach to regional economic development. SIAs enable local consortia to focus on analysing regional strengths and identify mechanisms to realise their potential. In the Highlands and Islands, a consortium was formed in October 2016 to focus on the strength in the marine economy. There were a wide range of consortium partners including Highlands Islands Enterprise who are part of the Sustainable Islands International (Sii) programme and Sii members EMEC and The University of the Highlands and Islands.
The focus of the SIA is on aquaculture, wave and tidal energy and marine biotechnology which are the most highly innovative sectors in the region’s marine economy. The SIA articulates the strategic opportunities for the marine economy and shows that innovators, infrastructure, capabilities and ideas are concentrated in the region. It also confirms that the region has the capacity to provide the necessary skills and assets for sustainable growth. This SIA report includes broad-ranging analysis of the Highlands and Islands marine economy capabilities, the challenges and the substantial opportunities for future economic growth.
Source: Highlands and Islands Enterprise