Orkney set for new marine renewables research campus

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Orkney Islands Council (OIC) have agreed funding for the establishment of a multi-million pound marine renewables research and innovation campus in Orkney, Scotland.

The 3.75-acre campus to be created in Stromness will support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney’s marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector, HIE informed.

The partnership between HIE and OIC will see £5.15 million invested in the project by HIE, including HIE-administered £1.48 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money, along with £1.5 million provided by OIC.

Keith Brown, Economy Secretary of Scotland, said: “I’m sure that this investment will increase the competitiveness of Orkney Islands in the marine renewables sector, encourage business diversification, growth, inward investment and foster international partnerships.”

The campus is expected to attract additional research activities to Orkney, both from the commercial and academic worlds.

OIC will also transfer the ownership of the Old Academy, which already houses the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology, environmental consultants Aquatera and number of other businesses; and former Stromness primary school to the partnership.

The two adjoining buildings will be refurbished, updated and extended to create the campus with the aim to attract academic institutions and businesses with an interest in carrying out a wide range of research projects in an island setting. This could include research linked to Orkney’s energy resources, transport needs, culture and economy, HIE noted.

The next stage for the project is a planning application. It is intended that work to create the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus will begin on site before the end of 2017, according to HIE.