MarRI-UK announces winner of ‘Smart Maritime Land Operations’ funding call

  • £1.3m awarded to a consortium led by Port of London Authority to enable Smart Maritime Land Operations for the Maritime Sector
  • The grant will help develop a national hydrogen highway network, integrating land, sea and port

A consortium of 8 organisations (1 Port, 2 SMEs, 3 Higher Education Institute, and 2 Research Technology Organisation) along with other supporting organisations, led by Port of London Authority have been awarded £1.3m as part of the Smart Maritime Land Operations Call, a Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) initiative supported by the Department for Transport (DfT). The grant will help develop a national hydrogen highway network, integrating land, sea and port. 

The Call was launched in November 2020, with organisations from across the UK able to apply for grants to develop mid TRL (TRL 3-7) technologies. Out of 19 submissions, 1 were selected for funding by independent reviewers. Criteria included their impact and benefits for the maritime sector, innovation aspect, strategic fit with Maritime 2050, alignment with the MarRI-UK vision, and value for money.

This funding will help develop technological innovation that enables smart maritime land operations for the sector.

MarRI-UK anticipates that the UK maritime sector's future will involve smart ships, exploiting advanced navigation and communications technologies with on-board sensors and intelligent systems. Increasing reliance on new technologies coupled with environmental challenges across the sector creates new and more demanding requirements for industry.

The UK government published Maritime 2050 in January 2019 as a strategic vision for the future of the maritime sector, setting out ambitious recommendations to take the industry into the second half of the 21st century. Underpinning the Maritime 2050 strategy are 10 core strategic ambitions, covering a range of topics from competitiveness to technology. These strategic ambitions include the intention that the UK “lead the way in taking action on clean maritime growth, enjoying economic benefits from being an early adopter or fast mover.”

This call shows MarRI-UK commitment to championing collaboration between companies, academia and government. The co-ordination of research across the maritime sector, underpinned by government initiatives and investment will help tackle technology and innovation challenges.

Robert Courts, Maritime Minister, said:

“If we’re to usher in a cleaner era for British maritime and achieve our world-leading decarbonisation goals, we must pioneer the use of new and innovative technologies at our ports.

Supporting the building of a state-of-the-art hydrogen network will enable us to reduce emissions, create green jobs across the UK and consolidate our position as international leaders in green maritime.”

John Howie MBE, Chair of MarRI-UK, said:

“The award of this grant marks a positive step forward in achieving the MarRI-UK vision.

This grant is extremely important to the UK maritime industry and provide unique opportunities for emerging technologies to be applied whilst supporting innovation; ensuring that sustainability remains at the core of our thinking. I very much look forward to seeing the developments as they unfold.”