Government is to invest up to £8 million to support and stimulate new research and development aimed at making marine vessels more efficient.

The investment will be made by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory  and Scottish Enterprise through a competition for funding for fast-track and collaborative research and development projects.

Through the ‘Vessel Efficiency: Piloting Marine and Maritime Innovation’ competition for funding, which opens in January 2013, the Technology Strategy Board and its partners are seeking proposals from businesses, whether currently inside or outside the industry, to develop solutions covering a wide range of technology areas which have the potential to improve vessel efficiency in existing and future ships, boats, submarines, and their associated equipment and systems.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: ‘The UK’s marine industries employ over 90,000 people, generate over £10 billion turnover and have tremendous prospects for growth through innovation.  The UK is well-placed to exploit future opportunities, both domestically and globally, and the funding available through this competition aims to help grow the sector through building collaboration – including with small and micro companies – and developing the UK supply chain.’