HM government ERDF
Home > News > News/Blog > First Marine-i Discovery Room Event attracts huge interest

First Marine-i Discovery Room Event attracts huge interest

By Matt Hodson, Marine Hub Operations Director, Cornwall Development Company

The inaugural Marine-i Discovery Room Event was held on 27th September 2017 at St Austell Business Centre and was an enormous success. The theme of the day was: “How can Research, Development and Innovation projects attract investment and what are the options available?”

60 delegates attended and were able to benefit from the latest advice from a broad panel of industry experts, all of whom have unique insights into the marine technology sector.

Tim Bagshaw of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP gave a fascinating talk on the forthcoming £40 million CIOS Investment Fund which will provide a mixture of debt and equity investment for innovation focussed SME’s. This game-changing support is great news for small businesses in the marine technology sector, and the LEP is interested in hearing from interested companies.

Josie Gough spoke about the work of Innovate UK and how it is supporting the vital science and technology innovations that the UK economy needs in order to grow in the future. Josie highlighted that the UK has a good track record in research but is not as strong in innovation, and why it is essential that we improve in this area. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to stimulate new innovation.

Christoph Harwoood from Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd gave an overview of the UK Marine Renewable Energy Sector and explained the importance of the Industrial Strategy. Christoph’s company is focused on bringing sustainable solutions to the tidal energy market. He talked about the success of Scotrenewables’ tidal turbine which has achieved an output of 20MWh.

Tim Blake from Severn Subsea Technologies shared his business’ experiences and how their focus on technology and development has driven their growth. Severn Subsea Technologies are specialists in the fields of subsea R&D, design and manufacture, marine renewable energy and high pressure high temperature engineering.

Simon Hindley from James Fisher & Sons gave his advice on successful product and service development, focusing on how businesses can attract investment and reach commercialisation. James Fisher & Sons is a leading provider of specialist services to the marine, oil and gas, and other high assurance industries worldwide.

The above talks were followed by workshop sessions on private sector investment and public sector investment, where delegates had the expert help of Heather Coupland from Access to Finance, Robert Bailey of Bishop Fleming, Rob Misselbrook of Mylor Ventures and Richard Wadman from Francis Clark. Rob Misselbrook explained the benefits of Angel, VC and EIS investment for marine technology businesses.

There were four major themes that emerged through the day:

  1. The overall Industrial Strategy is hugely important and it is vital that Cornwall businesses are involved and help to shape this;
  2. There are fantastic opportunities for those marinetech businesses who can help to reduce the costs associated with offshore developments;
  3. The innovation that is currently happening in wave and tidal energy is spilling over into all marine technology sectors;
  4. Businesses of all sizes need to carefully map out their investment strategy so that they exploit their innovation to its full potential and get the financial support they need to maximise its commercial readiness.

We would like to thank all the speakers and delegates for making this such an exciting and informative day. The feedback from delegates shows how useful they found the event:

“Good punchy, short sessions.”

“Good variety and well-pitched.”

“Great to have the LEP involved.”

“Excellent event and timely!”

Our second Discovery Room Event will be held on 22nd November 2017 on the theme of “Offshore Renewables – Robotics & Artificial Intelligence.” Full details will appear on our Events page soon. Our third event is scheduled for 1st February 2018. It will be held at the University of Plymouth Marine Building and will cover the capabilities and applications of their COAST laboratory.

If your business needs advice on investment for a marine technology project, or any other kind of support for its innovation, get in touch with the team here at Marine-i and we will explain how we can help you.