Scotland-Japan Partnership Injects £21M in Underwater Tech

A joint initiative between Japan and Scotland will see almost £21 million ($25.7 million) invested into underwater technology projects to promote economic growth opportunities in the Blue Economy.

Through a close working relationship between Scottish Enterprise and the Nippon Foundation, £20.9 million will be invested into six R&D projects being developed by 20 companies from Scotland and Japan.

Scottish Enterprise is supporting with £6.2 million in R&D funding to 12 Scottish companies, while Japan will contribute £4.1 million to the joint projects.

A further £10.6 million is being contributed by the Scottish companies into six projects with eight Japanese partners.

These were chosen based on the potential of their near-to-market technology to solve technical challenges in offshore renewables, carbon capture and storage and oil and gas.

Under the six projects, these companies will collaborate with industry bodies and universities to develop innovations in mooring, installation systems, geoscience and artificial intelligence.

The additional funding has been secured as a result of the success of the first call, promoted by this partnership, which saw £8.8 million invested into five R&D projects centred around digitalisation involving 12 companies.

David Rennie, head of Oil and Gas, Scottish Enterprise, said: “It is fantastic to see these projects coming to fruition and we are delighted to work with partners here in Scotland and Japan to support. It is particularly welcome to see the focus on the blue economy agenda. While our experience and focus in subsea has been based around oil and gas, these project awards clearly demonstrate that our subsea sector, one of our key global strengths, has the potential to help deliver technology solutions in a range of sectors beyond oil and gas. These projects will create significant value for the Scottish economy, and we are delighted to support them.”

The project forms part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was signed between Scottish Enterprise and the Japanese philanthropic organisation, The Nippon Foundation in 2017.

The extensive collaboration with Japan will make a contribution to the delivery of the Subsea Engineering Action Plan, launched by Scottish Enterprise in 2017, with the aim of helping Scottish companies capture an even bigger slice of the £50 billion global subsea market.