£15m funding bid for Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre

Torridge Councillors have voted to support a funding bid, seeking approximately £15m to create the Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre. This project will seek to place northern Devon at the core of maritime developments in the net zero age.

The centre, at Middle Dock, a site which neighbours the Harland & Wolff shipyard, will feature cutting-edge research and industry partnerships from the University of Plymouth and the Centre for Future Clean Mobility (University of Exeter), as well as offering a range of offices, workshops, a wet lab and aquaculture tanks to provide modern facilities for local and national businesses to innovate and grow.

The bid to the Levelling Up Fund will be the largest ever submitted by the district council and is designed to act as a catalyst for local economic growth, by providing an anchor for floating offshore wind activity in northern Devon.

Petroc is a key partner in the project and is already developing a range of future maritime-focused courses to ensure the best possible skills pipeline for future sector needs.

The proposals are also fully endorsed by the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere. The biosphere’s work is taking a global lead in the rapidly growing field of environmental intelligence.

“Appledore has a proud place in the history of maritime innovation,” says Prof Judith Petts CBE, vice-chancellor of the University of Plymouth. “This scheme offers the exciting and genuine prospect of us working to ensure that rich heritage can continue. The plans for Middle Dock will create a centre where our expertise continues to be channelled in a way that addresses some of the most pressing global challenges, while at the same time reinvigorating the local community. Working with our long-standing partners at Petroc, we can also ensure it boosts current attainment levels while inspiring and educating future generations.”

Torridge officers will now work with representatives from the academic institutions, local industry, and other partners to refine the bid that will need to be submitted by 6 July.

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