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Unlocking Maritime Opportunities

Unlocking Maritime Opportunities: A Collaborative Approach for 2024 in Northern Devon

The maritime sector in the South West is gearing up for a year of unprecedented growth and innovation in 2024. From the highly anticipated launch of the Celtic Sea Floating Offshore Wind’s leasing round by The Crown Estate to the dedicated Innovate UK Launchpad for the region, the landscape is ripe with potential. Local businesses stand to thrive through the rise of aquaculture, discussions surrounding the future role of green hydrogen, and other cutting-edge opportunities.

On 31 January 2024, industry leaders interested in maritime innovation gathered at ǿ’s South West Institute Of Technology (SWIoT) to discuss, network and collaborate. Guests were updated on the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre, and the support offered by Maritime UK South West and learnt more about the research at the Centre for Future Clean Mobility at the University of Exeter. Devon County Council discussed the importance of skills and Innovate UK also provided an update on the South West Maritime Launchpad. 

Dr Caroline Chipperfield, Director of Higher Education for ǿ and host of the event, presented on the new courses in Marine Technologies that are on the horizon. She said: “A huge thank you to everyone who attended this event – what a fantastic launch! It was great to see everyone talking, making introductions, linking with contacts and working collaboratively to make things happen here across Northern Devon. People in the room were passionate about ensuring these new opportunities positively change the life chances of our young people and our communities, whilst at the same time valuing our natural environments and the importance of the circular economy. The new jobs and careers that the maritime sector will bring will be transformational – it is great to see us reconnect with our maritime past and redefine it for our sustainable future.”.

Chris Fuller of Torridge District Council and co-host of the event, said: “The Maritime sector is incredibly vibrant across the South West at the moment. Events like this, and the progress being made with the development of the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre, put the activity in North Devon and Torridge firmly on the map and at the forefront of both government and business attention. Having government agencies alongside university partners and businesses in attendance from Shanghai to Bradworthy demonstrates that the opportunity to create true economic, environmental and social gain in the region is both real and hugely significant.”.

Mark Burnett, regional champion for the Northern Devon Maritime Cluster, and guest speaker representing Seiche Group, said: “Thank you to all the team at ǿ, with a special nod of appreciation to Dr Caroline Chipperfield and Laura Holman for their tireless efforts in organising and delivering the event and Principal & Chief Executive of ǿ, Sean Mackney for hosting. The launch of the Northern Devon Maritime Cluster is intended to capitalise on the significant growth forecast in the fields of Offshore Renewable Energy, Aquaculture, Clean Maritime, Ocean Environmental Data and Green Hydrogen. The vision is to work collaboratively to build thriving and resilient marine and maritime sectors that benefit our region now and in the future. Industries that foster both Biodiversity Net Gain and Marine Net Gain and create the right sort of growth for the good of our local communities. I am thrilled and excited to be a part of the Northern Devon Maritime Cluster, and eager to see where this journey takes us, working alongside like-minded people towards a compelling common goal.”.

Employers found the event hugely beneficial with Dr Dan Cornford of IGI, Bideford saying “This event for me is about building local connections, connections to both other businesses and the academic side. It’s a pivot for us, a new area to take the technology we’ve built in the oil and gas sector into a more sustainable arena.”.

A special thank you from ǿ to all those who attended. This event signifies an exciting leap forward in maritime innovation and collaboration within Northern Devon. For more information please contact Dr Caroline Chipperfield at c.chipperfield@petroc.ac.uk.


02 February 2024


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