Ocean growth hub amongst projects backed by £279m Industrial Strategy investment

The UK Government has announced various new projects aimed at protecting the health of the oceans, developing the next generation of sustainable packaging and protecting Pacific Island nations from the threats of climate change.

Ocean growth hub amongst projects backed by £279m Industrial Strategy investment

Twelve projects will be supported by £200m from the Global Challenges Research Fund

As part of a £279m investment through the Government’s Industrial Strategy, 28 projects aimed at tackling “the world’s biggest issues” will be supported by UK academia and research experts.

A new One Ocean Growth hub has been announced today (22 January) by Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore and will be supported by the fund. Led by the University of Strathclyde the hub aims to connect researchers with communities to help cut ocean pollution and deliver against the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

Of the 28 successful projects, 16 will be receiving a share of £79 million from the Fund for International Collaboration, which will be match funded by partnering developed nations, including a UK-Israel innovation programme and a UK-Korea Health Sciences collaboration to focus on diagnosis of dementia through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The remaining 12 projects will be supported by £200m from the Global Challenges Research Fund. The successful projects are being managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The UK has a reputation for globally influential research and innovation and is at the centre of a web of global collaboration – showing that science has no borders.

“The projects being announced today reinforce our commitment to enhance the UK’s excellence in innovation at home and around the world, driving high-skilled jobs, economic growth and productivity as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.”

Pacific challenge

In related news, the UK and New Zealand governments have a reaffirmed a commitment to assist with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, by working with Pacific Island nations to mitigate emissions and increase resilience against climate change.

Pacific Island nations are threatened by rising sea levels, but a lot of them don’t have the economic viability to mitigate emissions. The UK will open three new diplomatic posts in the Pacific next year – Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga – and a new UK regional development expert in Fiji to assist with mitigation plans.

“We will use this opportunity to drive a step-change in the way we collectively build resilience to the impacts of climate change to ensure a more secure and prosperous future for all, including those countries particularly vulnerable to climate change such as Small Island States, many of which are in the Pacific,” the UK Government said in a statement.

Matt Mace

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