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Plymouth Marine Laboratory project awarded UKERC Flexible Research Fund

2 August 2022

Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Aberdeen and have been awarded a round of funding for their joint project, ‘The marine energy, biodiversity and food nexus (EcoNex)’.  
Sunset behind offshore wind farm

The funding has been provided by the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) as part of their ‘Flexible Research Fund’. This was the third and final call for the fund, which focused on three key areas: governance and decision-making: affordability and gas market volatility; and interaction with non-energy systems.  

The successful bid from the University of Aberdeen and Plymouth Marine Laboratory focuses on marine energy, with a project summary below:  

‘The UK has plans to increase offshore wind capacity to 50 GW by 2030. This will require an understanding of the trade-offs between climate change and the multiple uses of marine natural resources. This project will work with renewable industry and policy bodies to enable evidence-based, informed actions to improve decision making when balancing environmental, social, and economic impacts, ensuring marine net gain as part of national policy assessments.’  

Dr Steve Watson, Ecosystems Services Scientist at PML who worked on the bid, said:  

“Although the secondary impacts of offshore wind may not be as immediately obvious as onshore wind, they do exist. Impacts will be both positive, such as providing additional habitats for shellfish, but also potentially negative, for example to some bird and mammal species.  We currently have a poor understanding of the full implications of making such major changes to our offshore environment.” 

Professor Nicola Beaumont, Head of Science – Sea and Society at PML, added: 

“Ensuring that this offshore development is truly ‘green’ will be a major challenge for UK science in the coming years. As such, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, in collaboration with UKERC, are continuing our extensive research efforts to support these changes and ensure the most sustainable approach can be taken.”  

Find out more about the Sea and Society group at Plymouth Marine Laboratory >>