Applications are now open for a third round of funding from the UK Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF). The programme seeks ideas from innovators looking to introduce novel and practical solutions into the sector that will help to secure it a sustainable future. The SIF has also announced £1.5m of follow-on funding for projects with promising outcomes from the previous round.

Call 3 is looking to fund feasibility studies for up to five months – to a maximum value of £50,000 – that test new ideas or approaches that will provide long-term, practical benefits to the seafood industry. Unlike in previous rounds, full research and development projects will not be considered, allowing the programme to direct a larger proportion of available funds to encourage new, unique ideas.

Since the fund’s inception in 2019, it has supported 65 projects across the UK, spanning fisheries, aquaculture and the seafood supply chain. Previous projects have pushed the boundaries of new technologies, and have investigated consumer habits, market gaps, animal welfare issues and the circular economy. The SIF is looking to further diversify its range, and is welcoming applicants (and collaborations) that draw together knowledge from across the sector and beyond, and apply solutions using a novel approach.

For applications that are successful in gaining funding from Call 3, which then go on to demonstrate a successful project outcome, there will be an opportunity to apply for follow-on funding through a closed call. In particular, SIF will be looking for strong ideas that can be converted into widespread realities for UK seafood.

Separate to the opening of Call 3, the fund has also announced an additional £1.5m of follow-on funding awarded to SIF-funded feasibility studies that showed demonstrable promise and applicability in their project results. This funding has been allocated to nine projects, each now progressing with research and development, and testing their ideas in real-world scenarios.

One project, working to increase sustainability of inshore fishing, is trialling climate-friendly electric outboard motors on small vessels. Modernised elements of the technology include early heat-detection safety features, alongside solar-powered recharging.

Another project is creating a sustainable alternative to single-use polystyrene food delivery boxes using compostable biofoam – a project spurred by the rise in home delivery of seafood during the pandemic.

Call 3 opened on 6 October, and the fund will accept applications until midday on 7 January. In the first instance, project teams can submit their innovative idea for feedback (in advance of a full application) via an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. For more information on how to apply, click here.

For more information on previously funded projects, and those that have received follow-on funding, click here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.


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