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Huge success for our Rapid Innovation Grants!

Marine-i launched its Rapid Innovation Grants (RIGS) less than a year ago and they have already had a massive impact on marine technology in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, RIGS is a stream of the Marine Challenge Fund. It offers 100% fast-track grants of up to £2,000 to businesses in order move their idea or innovation to the next level. The grants can be used to purchase services or equipment.

To date, there are already 18 businesses that have received RIGS with at least 5 more applications expected to be completed over the next couple of months. RIGS have been used across a wide spectrum of marine innovation, including marine conservation, sail technology, hybrid power systems, 3D printing, safety at sea, composite materials, marine prototyping, advanced scanning and much more.

Professor Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, lead partner for Marine-I, says: “We launched the Rapid Innovation Grants to offer a straightforward way of unleashing the potential of business innovation and helping projects move to the next stage rapidly. They were designed to help businesses make their first steps towards new product development and Intellectual Property creation, as they find inventive ways to meet market challenges. The brilliant response that we have had from marine business proves that RIGS have met a vital need.”

The first recipient of a Rapid innovation Grant was Ocean Hydraulics, who have developed a new way of anchoring seabed foundation piles. Their Director, Mike Curnow, says:

“Thanks to the RIGS scheme, we now expect to have a working prototype ready to go to sea within a year and full commercialisation within two years. Our Rapid Innovation Grant has been invaluable in helping us accelerate our innovation. I would urge other marine businesses to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”

Dr Rachel Nicholls-Lee is Director of Whiskerstay Ltd, who specialise in hybrid power systems for marine vessels. She says:

“We have devised a new propulsion solution which would have wide applications for both commercial and leisure marine vehicles, with the potential to reach a massive worldwide market. Getting the full support of the expert team at Marine-i together with a crucial Rapid Innovation Grant, means that we can carry out vital system design and simulation work. This has provided the perfect kick-start to this exciting project.”