Scotland and a Japanese organisation will stump up funds totalling £15million for joint research projects focusing on subsea technology.
Scottish companies will use their knowledge of the marine environment to help Japanese industry address its subsea technology challenges under the agreement.
Scottish Enterprise and the Nippon Foundation – a non-profit, grant-making organisation − signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise the plans yesterday at Offshore Europe 2017 in Aberdeen.
Scottish economy secretary Keith Brown, who attended the signing, said both nations had a “deep connection” and had made great contributions to shipbuilding.
Mr Brown said their ambitions are now turning to future-proofing the subsea industry with the right resources.
He said the new pact represented a “unique opportunity” to work together to address important challenges both countries were facing.
Scottish Enterprise director of energy Maggie McGinlay, who co-signed the MoU, said Scotland made up 14% of the global subsea market, with about 370 companies generating an estimated annual turnover of £7.5billion.
Ms McGinlay said: “This experience and reputation means we are ideally positioned to work with The Nippon Foundation and to support its ambitions for the sector in Japan.
“We’re particularly delighted to be able to demonstrate this collaboration here at Offshore Europe and look forward to highlighting this opportunity to companies across the subsea sector.”
Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa said: “Offshore development is a huge frontier and this is where Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation will pioneer together.
“The two parties will provide equal funding of a total of $20million (£15.4million) to support joint projects that push boundaries and challenge conventions.
“The programme will serve to incubate new seeds of ocean innovation. World-leading experts from both countries will be teaming up to help these seeds bud and bloom into innovative offshore technology.”
Also yesterday, The Nippon Foundation and Robert Gordon University (RGU) signed a letter of intent paving the way for collaboration in ocean innovation.
The offshore sector in Japan is expected to grow to £370billion by 2030 and thousands more engineers will be needed.
It is hoped that the relationship with RGU can support the training of skilled staff for the market.
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