ERDF Funds Aura Innovation Centre in Hull
UK-based Aura, an initiative of the University of Hull, has secured a GBP 4 million funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to build the Aura Innovation Centre (AIC) and provide a support program for Humber-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the offshore wind and low carbon sectors.
According to Aura, AIC will strengthen the region’s standing as a center of excellence in offshore wind innovation and provide a focus for business to drive innovation through collaboration in the low-carbon energy sector.
In addition, the center is supported by a further GBP 2.5 million from Green Port Hull and GBP 5.5 million match funding from the University of Hull.
The construction is expected to commence towards the end of this year with completion by the end of 2019.
“The substantial funding that we now have in place to build the Aura Innovation Centre here in the Energy Estuary is the culmination of a vision that the original Aura Partners (the University of Hull, GreenPortHull, the Humber LEP, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Ørsted) had two years ago – which was to see the Energy Estuary as The Hub for offshore wind and low carbon innovation,” Ben George, Director of Aura, said.
Recruiting for the AIC team will commence imminently, with positions being established in advance of the building completion in order to support the SME community as soon as possible, Aura said.
In October 2017, the University of Hull and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult joined forces to launch a GBP 2 million O&M Centre of Excellence, which will be based in AIC. The five-year partnership will see a series of research and innovation projects to improve the way offshore wind farms are operated and maintained.
In addition, an Aura collaboration, including the University of Hull, won a GBP 7.6 million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to improve the UK’s offshore wind technologies. The program will address research challenges and is expected to help reduce the cost of electricity from offshore wind.