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NEWS & INSIGHT | Opinion

Cross-Sector Innovation: next gen subsea systems

13 January 2020
Written by Russell Stevenson

As we look forward to another busy year, I’m excited about a number of key initiatives we’ll be delivering through the OGTC. The first of these is a cross-sector initiative in collaboration with the defence industry.

The defence sector and the oil & gas sector have traditionally developed their respective technologies in isolation, however there are many areas in which the innovation and technology development can serve both to great effect. As a result, Subsea UK and the OGTC spent much of 2019 working with the UK Defence Solution Centre (UKDSC) to develop a Cross-Sector Innovation (CSI) programme focused on the subsea domain. This involved extensive engagement and support from several industry and government bodies – the MOD, Royal Navy, DASA, UKRI-Innovate UK, NSRI, OGA and the Offshore Energy Sector (OES) – resulting in the successful launch of the Cross-Sector Innovation (CSI) – Subsea Autonomous Systems: Next Generation Technologies programme.

The subsea CSI facilitates close collaboration between the UK Defence sector and adjacent commercial sectors, with a specific focus on areas of mutual interest within Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS). This will benefit both sectors by collaborating across supply chains to develop a range of innovative emerging and enabling technology solutions, delivered through a £6.1m funded innovation competition. Detailed dialogue between major offshore energy companies and the Royal Navy have identified a shared appetite to deliver disruptive solutions around four distinctive enabling technology, within the subsea autonomous systems:

• Power & Communications
• Sensors, Detection, Navigation, Processing and Data Fusion
• Deployment and Modularity
• Operations

COMPETITION SUMMARY: UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Robots for a Safer World challenge, is working with The Royal Navy, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and the Oil & Gas Authority on a new £6 million competition for business-led projects. Successful applicants will gain a place on a 5-day collaborative workshop to develop their proposals, then submit their final innovative and commercially viable new ideas. For more information and to apply, click here

Expressions of interest opened today (13th January 2020) and include two key events:

• Competition Briefing Event 1 – 23 January, London Hallam Conference Centre, 44 Hallam Street, London, W1W 6JJ (Note this will also be a webinar session that will be posted to Innovate UK’s website)
• Competition Briefing Event 2 – 30 January, Scotland the studio, 67 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 6AE

Expressions of interest close on 12th February 2020 allowing time for submissions to be reviewed, with successful companies joining a five-day residential collaborative workshop 20-24th April.

So if you have capabilities and experience in the highlighted areas, and an appetite to get involved in collaborative, innovation projects to develop new technologies – you can find out more through the UKDSC COI portal. Further details are also signposted through the Royal Navy, DASA, Subsea UK and Innovate UK websites.

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