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Subsea Expo

The voice of the UK subsea industry

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 Subsea UK.

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

The cross -industry sectors of the blue economy is a high growth area not only within the UK, but internationally, with some reports estimating the global annual value of underwater engineering to reach £140billion by 2030.  Technology and innovation is a key factor to rising to opportunities and in particular cost efficiency, both within capital and operational expenditure. In addition, due consideration within the subsea and marine environment there requires to be focus on the environment.

This open call provides collaboration opportunities for industry and academia, between Scottish and Japanese companies as partners or leaders in projects.

The potential for projects across the industry offer wide opportunities, therefore this call recognises a number of key cross industry challenges, as identified in the figure below, however this should not be considered restrictive.  The challenges are supported by industry research, performed by NSRI and their partners to assist in enabling and supporting the blue economy;

EOI (Expressions of Interest) are welcome with or without a Japanese R&D partner initially. There will be support in helping match with suitable Japanese partners at a later stage. Please note that funding will only be given to projects that include joint proposals from both Scottish and Japanese companies.

Market Reports


Japanese market reports - pdf  

  • Project sanction: Early Autumn 2019 (date to be confirmed)

Application Form

To apply, please download the application form. Please complete and return to