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£5.1 million UKRI funding for UK aquaculture research and innovation

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Vaccines made using algae are being developed to keep fish free from disease and help protect the UK’s aquaculture industry.

The project is one of 12 to receive a total of £5.1 million which will further research to address challenges for aquaculture.

Other projects include studying genetics and breeding patterns, looking at how shellfish can be more sustainable, immunising trout against kidney disease and examining how robust salmon are and how susceptible to disease they are at sea.

The UK Aquaculture Initiative is a joint BBSRC and NERC project to support high-quality, innovative research and address strategic challenges facing UK aquaculture. This investment represents a total of £5.1 million, along with contributions from co-funders AFBI and Cefas and a range of industry partners who will collaborate with academic researchers on the projects.

Karen Lewis, BBSRC Executive Director, Innovation & Skills, said: “Aquaculture is a key food production sector for the UK. These projects will improve our understanding of the challenges facing aquaculture production. Working together with industry partners, UK researchers will help to address these challenges and contribute to developing a healthy, safe and sustainable aquaculture system which will deliver societal and economic benefit for the UK.”

The 12 new projects include:

Aquaculture: Collaborative Research and Innovation

Project Principal investigator Lead organisation
AquaLeap: Innovation in Genetics and Breeding to Advance UK Aquaculture Production Ross Houston The University of Edinburgh
Safe and Sustainable Shellfish: Introducing local testing and management solutions Christine Edwards The Robert Gordon University
ROBUST-SMOLT Impact of early life history in freshwater Recirculation Aquaculture Systems on A. salmon robustness and susceptibility to disease at sea Herve Migaud University of Stirling
Evaluating the Environmental Conditions Required for the Development of Offshore Aquaculture Keith Davidson Scottish Association For Marine Science
Passive and active immunisation against novel vaccine targets to protect trout against proliferative kidney disease (PKD) Chris Secombes University of Aberdeen
Binder seeding to improve the economic case of UK macroalgal cultivation (Bindweed) Adam Hughes Scottish Association For Marine Science
Paper-based platform for on site, rapid, and multiplexed DNA-based pathogen detection in aquaculture Julien Reboud University of Glasgow
PhytoMOPS: Phytoplankton Morphology and Optical Properties Sensor Allison Schaap National Oceanography Centre
The development of diagnostic techniques to assess anaemia in aquaculture reared Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar) Brian Quinn University of the West of Scotland
Algal vaccines for Aquaculture Brenda Parker University College London
Identifying targets for control of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis - a major cause of disease in aquaculture Mark van der Giezen University of Exeter
NOSy - magnetic and wireless sensor technology for improving profit, biosecurity and carbon footprint of regional oyster production Thomas Cameron University of Essex



The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £498 million in world-class bioscience in 2017-18. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about UK Research and Innovation.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
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