Subsea Expo

Access. Connect. Grow.

Subsea Research & Development Funding

Project Background

In September 2017 Scottish Enterprise signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nippon Foundation to operate a programme of projects identified through a series of calls to develop systems for the exploitation of ocean resources. A Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) has been created with members from Scottish Enterprise (SE), Nippon Foundation (NF) and Global Underwater Hub.

This project will support the Scottish Subsea Supply Chain to innovate. The Programme will use a call based approach, focused on themes initiated in Japan, developed and announced by the JAC. Such an approach will assist in drawing out industry in their view of how to progress technology. There will be at least one call per annum.

Projects will be joint between universities and/or research institutes and companies of both countries. Investment of up to $10.0m (£7.4m) committed by the Nippon Foundation will be targeted at the Japanese elements of the project and SE funding of up to $10m (£7.4m) from SE R&D grant funding will be directed towards Scottish companies, subject to appraisal. Project applications will be assessed in line with SEs standard processes and individual objectives will be identified at that stage.

The aim

Funding research and development activities in engineering and technology for the subsea industry.

Call 1 - Overview

The first call of the three year programme was focused on 'Digital' within the Oil & Gas sector. The call received a great response, with 46 organisations noting their interest at being a part of a collaborative project and concluded with 8 Scottish organisations being partnered with 5 Japanese organisations. The Scottish and Japanese R&D collaboration for call 1 has invested a total of £8.8million, with £4.4million invested from both countries, into 5 collaborative R&D projects. It is recognised that many challenges within the Oil and Gas Industry are common across other industries within the Blue Economy, creating a much wider opportunity for Research and Development, this is reflected in call 2.

Call 2 - Overview

Call 2 provided collaboration opportunities for industry and academia, between Scottish and Japanese companies as partners or leaders in projects.

The potential for projects across industry offers a wide array of opportunities, and this call recognised a number of key cross-industry challenges, supported by industry research performed by Global Underwater Hub and their partners to assist in enabling and supporting the Blue Economy.


Now that Call 2 has concluded, industry body Global Underwater Hub are pleased to announce that, through a close working relationship between Scottish Enterprise and the Nippon Foundation, £20.9million will be invested into six R&D projects being developed by 20 companies from Scotland and Japan.

Scottish Enterprise is supporting with £6.2 million in R&D funding to 12 Scottish companies, while Japan will contribute £4.1 million to the joint projects. A further £10.6 million is being contributed by the Scottish companies into six projects with eight Japanese partners.

These were chosen based on the potential of their near-to-market technology to solve technical challenges in offshore renewables, carbon capture and storage and oil and gas.

Under the six projects, these companies will collaborate with industry bodies and universities to develop innovations in mooring, installation systems, geoscience and artificial intelligence.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Global Underwater Hub, said: "Globally the Blue Economy is forecast to be worth £140 billion by 2035 and Scottish companies who can develop disruptive technology can capitalise on this opportunity. The scale of this opportunity was reflected in the response to the second call which has attracted projects that have applications across the entire underwater industry.

 "The increase in funding is in direct response to the success of the first call and the quality of submissions for the second call. Led by Scottish Enterprise, this initiative is a unique opportunity to engage with industry and academia across Scotland and Japan, renowned for their development of innovative technology.

Market Reports

Japanese market reports - pdf