Aquaculture — [Sir David Amess in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kerr Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling 4:00 pm, 17th July 2019

That is exactly why I request that the Government proportionately invest in Scottish aquaculture, particularly in research at the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling. There are solutions to the problem that the hon. Gentleman raises, but they require innovative, scientific research breakthroughs, which come about through the funding of world class research, such as that at the University of Stirling. We need to encourage business investment in research and development. The innovation centre that I referred to earlier is important because it brings together the entire sector.

The UK industrial strategy sets out the bold ambition to increase UK investment in research and development to 2.4% of GDP. That is a good objective. The Government have firmly put research and innovative at the heart of their industrial strategy, setting a grand vision for the UK to become the most innovative country in the world. We need to see better co-ordination of innovation in the sector; that is the focus of this debate.

As we have seen already, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre in Stirling has created a £36 million programme of research and development, with £22.8 million from commercial partners and £1.3 million from university finance. Many companies are investing in this valuable sector, but we need it to work better together.