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UK Aquaculture Initiative

The UK Aquaculture Initiative is a joint BBSRC and NERC initiative to support high-quality, innovative research and research translation within a growing community of people working together towards a mutual goal of developing a healthy, safe and sustainable UK aquaculture system.

By funding projects that incorporate both the environmental and biological sciences, this cross-Research Council initiative will bring together diverse expertise, knowledge, skills and facilities to deliver innovative approaches to solving industry challenges. In doing so, it will strengthen the research community to underpin the long-term needs of industry through interdisciplinary research, research translation, and the provision of training.

Following an initial research call in 2014, the second phase of the Initiative is focused on further building the BBSRC- and NERC-funded aquaculture research community, linking it to supply chain and end-user companies and equipping the community to address industry research challenges. For information on the development and structure of the Initiative, see the ‘Introduction to the UK Aquaculture Initiative’ slide deck below.

Aims

  • To support high-quality, innovative, strategic research within UK higher education institutions and centres
  • To build UK academic capability and underpinning capacity to meet the long term needs of industry
  • To encourage cross-discipline working and draw in new researchers to the aquaculture sector
  • To support the translation of existing research data and knowledge into new tools, technologies and solutions
  • To ensure the exchange of knowledge between the academic science base and industry through the support of effective networking between academic groups and businesses
  • To build a community of people working together towards a mutual goal of developing a healthy, safe and sustainable UK aquaculture system

Research challenges

In-depth discussion with aquaculture companies identified a number of research areas important across the sector:

  • Monitoring and control of health and disease
  • Sustainable, nutritional feedstock
  • Understanding and managing the effects of aquaculture on the environment
  • Understanding and managing the effects of the environment on aquaculture
  • Breeding and genetics approaches for stock enhancement
  • Finfish welfare

Three central themes cut across all the research challenges:

  1. New facilities and technologies for monitoring and predicting risks, and to enhance the capacity of aquaculture
  2. Data sharing and management
  3. Safe food for human consumption

UK Aquaculture Initiative: Innovation Projects

NERC and Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council invited proposals for innovation projects to the UK Aquaculture Initiative. Approximately £1.2M of funding was available for projects that meet the needs of the UK aquaculture industry and create sustainable, tangible economic or societal benefits.

The six successful innovation projects will utilise the wealth of existing research, data and expertise to enable the development of technologies and solutions for the benefit of practitioners and decision-makers.

For details of the successful projects please visit: www.nerc.ac.uk/innovation/activities/sustainablefood/aquaculture/ukai/awards2016 (PDF)

UK Aquaculture Initiative: Networks in Aquaculture

Proposals were invited for Networks in Aquaculture in early 2016. Up to £600k was available for up to two networks focussing on finfish and shellfish.

Networks will facilitate the development of a community of people that works together towards a mutual goal of sustainable aquaculture systems and work with the Research Councils to help ensure their investments supports high-quality, innovative, research that builds UK academic capability and underpinning capacity and meets the long term needs of the sector.

In 2017, BBSRC and NERC hope to announce further funding for collaboration research projects.

2015 Workshop presentations

Chair's introduction (PDF 958KB)

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NERC's introduction (PDF 1.69MB)

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Introduction to the UK Aquaculture Initiative (PDF 1.07MB)

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Session 1 – Part 1 (PDF 2.80MB)

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Session 1 – Part 2 (PDF 3.29MB)

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Session 2 (PDF 2.59MB)

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Charlotte Maddocks presentation – Why innovate? (PDF 1.13MB)

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Aquaculture definition

For the purposes of the UK Aquaculture Initiative, ‘aquaculture’ is defined as the farming of aquatic animals and plants. It excludes capture fisheries (catching wild fish from seas or fresh water), although some aquaculture may depend at least in part on feed derived from wild-caught fish. Aquaculture includes the culture of algae or other plants for food or fish-feed, but here excludes algal culture for bioenergy or non-food industrial products. However, some research, such as work to increase the productivity of algal culture, would be relevant for both food and non-food uses. In general, in documents relating to this initiative, document ‘fish’ should be taken to include shellfish.