Two new international research hubs are to be created at the University of Stirling following a £22 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments.
Stirling will receive £17 million for a major new Institute of Aquaculture and Global Aquatic Food Security facility, with the remaining £5 million going towards an International Environment Centre.
The investment was announced this morning by Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown MSP, and the leaders of both Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils.
It forms part of a £90.2 million UK City Region Deal, which aims to encourage growth and create over 5000 jobs in Stirling and Clackmannanshire.
The new aquaculture development will form part of a new Aquaculture Innovation Hub, which will operate four aquatic research facilities. Unique in the UK, the hub will provide the full range of marine environmental conditions, and create research and development opportunities to grow the export of Scottish aquaculture skills and products.
Brian Austin, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology at the Stirling University Institute for Aquaculture, said: “The news is a fantastic boost to the pioneering work of the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling.
“Aquaculture is on an upward trajectory in most countries; in Scotland, aquaculture is already the biggest contributor to agricultural exports. Therefore, there is a tremendous future for aquaculture, and this investment should secure Stirling’s dominant role in future developments of this industry.”
The International Environment Centre, involving a number of partners including Forth Valley College, will draw together academic expertise from across Scotland, the UK and the world and connect environmental research with business opportunities and training.
University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, was present at this morning’s event at the Engine Shed conservation centre. He said: “I welcome today’s signing of a City Deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, which will bring significant economic benefits.
“Investment in world-class research through the City Deal will enable University of Stirling researchers to further tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. By working in partnership, we can unleash our economic potential, delivering a unique source of jobs, growth, and skills development, both for Stirling, and the wider Scottish and UK economies.”
Following this morning’s announcement, David Mundell is visiting the Institute of Aquaculture at the University.