Scotland seeks leading position in developing new water technologies

Economic development agencies Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise have launched a new initiative aimed increasing innovation within the water sector. The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service will build more effective links across wider industry and stakeholders.

Contracts to manage the three year programme were awarded this week to AECOM, WRc and UK Water Ltd, The firms will work principally with environmental technology small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the water and waste water sector across Scotland to help turn near-market research into tangible opportunities. The team will provide technical and commercial support to help take water technologies and services to final testing and validation and bring ideas to market faster. AECOM will lead the programme, with UK Water Ltd providing stakeholder services and WRc delivering testing and validation support.

Marc Barone, AECOM’s UK & Ireland managing director for water, said: “This exciting new service will help create a culture of innovation in the UK water industry, unlocking opportunities for Scottish firms to turn their ideas and products into commercial realities. With operations in around 150 countries, AECOM will use its global reach to give companies in Scotland access to the international water market. Our global expertise is complemented by the specialist capabilities of our partners WRc and UK Water Ltd.” 

The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service will be open to company enquiries from July 2015, after which the first batch of companies to be supported by the scheme will be chosen. More information for companies wishing to submit enquiries will be announced in the next few weeks. 

 “The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service aims to grow the water economy, create new businesses and jobs. It will tackle specific barriers faced by small and medium sized businesses in bringing products to the market, such as testing under live network conditions, gaining certification and accreditation,” said Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay. “It will work closely with the enterprise agencies and have a strong international focus supporting exports, inward investment and the sharing of knowledge and seeking solutions to help tackle global water challenges.

The scheme will also provide access to specialist support, as well as test and demonstration facilities. One of its goals will be to increase international trade by bringing more water technology products to market, and encouraging international collaboration. A further objective of the scheme is to increase the number of collaborative projects between businesses, academia and the public sector, in order to encourage knowledge sharing and harness opportunities.  

The latest announcement follows the development of the Hydro Nation Strategy, launched in 2012, designed to deliver economic growth for Scotland through maximising the economic benefits of the country’s water resources by reducing energy use and improving efficiency. The scheme will help raise Scotland’s international profile as a leader in water management and increase global understanding of the circular economy.





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