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£10 million insect farm funding a boon for aquaculture sector

A £10 million funding package to accelerate the development of the UK’s first large-scale industrial insect farm could provide a significant boost to the sustainability of the country’s aquaculture sector, according to experts.

The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) announced the financial support programme for a research consortium to deliver a complete demonstrator system for the conversion of food waste into insect-based animal feed and biofertiliser. It will also prove that the farming of black soldier flies is economically viable, low carbon, and scalable in the UK, while validating its safety and efficacy.

Led by Entocycle, which uses insects to make ingredients for pet food and animal feed, the project involves a range of organisations from different sectors, including the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

The University of Warwick, Durham University, Tesco, Beta Bugs Ltd, AB Agri Ltd, Better Origin, ISCF Future Food Production Systems, Fera Science Ltd, and Insect Technology Group UK, are also supporting its delivery.

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Free business growth acceleration programme open for applications

Digital Pathfinder Accelerator – Fast track your business

With the world changing around us, is it time to reboot your business? Pathfinder is recharged and ready to support businesses across the Highlands and Islands to revitalise their thinking and thrive in a more digital environment. HIE is currently recruiting for the next programme which will start in late October 2020.

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New anchoring technology for aquaculture takes a leap forward

For the past year, tidal energy technology specialist Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd (SME); the University of Dundee; marine equipment supplier, Gael Force Group; and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) have explored the feasibility of adapting a rock anchor approach from techniques used in marine energy sites to aquaculture.

With additional support from software provider Optum, the initial testing phase has been successfully completed and the results will allow the group to accurately predict the loads and capacity that rock anchors can bear in field trials. The findings will also enable SME to reduce the amount of material required to manufacture the anchors, leading to a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly product.

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Leading Antarctic scientist joins SAMS to further algae research

Dr. Matt Davey, who led the creation of the first ever large-scale map of microscopic algae on the snow covered Antarctic coastline – so-called ‘green snow’ – has joined the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) from the University of Cambridge to continue his research.

Dr Davey said his research could develop further following his move to SAMS, which hosts the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa, the UK’s algal library and one of the most diverse collections in the world.
Photo Credit - SAMS

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Aquaculture firms in virtual support programme

This is the fifth group to start on the Pathfinder Accelerator programme, developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The programme was planned to be held in Fort William, but with face to face sessions unable to take place due to the COVID-19 crisis, the sessions will now be hosted virtually.

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