Today, Plymouth and South Devon (PASD) Freeport as the governing body of Ocean Futures, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

This MoU signifies a commitment between the two organisations to develop Ocean Futures internationally as a platform for exchanging knowledge and to encourage shared investment and standards globally, particularly in the areas of uncrewed and autonomous technology, remote operations, ocean technology, maritime cybersecurity, maritime policy and human factors.

The collaboration will focus on areas of mutual interest, including:

  • Building relationships and partnerships to create an environment where companies and investors have the relevant information to enter new markets within the U.K. and Canada, jointly promoting investment opportunities.
  • Developing, through Ocean Futures, an international network of like-minded institutions to explore, create and share information/investment opportunities.
  • Exploring collaborative opportunities for applied research and development between PASD Freeport and MI and respective partner institutions, seeking to shape international standards and regulation in key priority areas.

The MoU also includes objectives around education, skills, training, engagement and seeking further opportunities to bolster MI and PASD Freeport’s collective voices to influence key priority areas.

Richard May, CEO, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport:

“We are delighted to partner with the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University. This MoU represents a significant step forward to establish Plymouth and South Devon, through Ocean Futures, as a global innovation hotbed and demonstrates our commitment to international collaboration.”

Dr. Paul Brett, Vice President of Memorial University for the Marine Institute:

“We are pleased to collaborate with Plymouth and South Devon Freeport to explore opportunities for future co-operation in expanding education and research in the oceans economy and to exchange knowledge in ocean technologies such as autonomous technology and remote operations. The Launch is designed to build our oceans expertise and help to build a network of world-class ocean innovation centres that work together to advance the technology we need to sustainably manage our oceans.”

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, as part of the government’s Freeport programme, is a hub for global trade, investment and innovation. With an ambition to create a global centre of excellence for the testing, development and manufacture of autonomy, digital and clean ocean technologies for the rapidly growing global ocean economy, PASD Freeport provides the governance for Ocean Futures, which is an international marine and maritime innovation partnership, focused on global trending strategic themes and sub-sector specialisms.

Plymouth is also home to Smart Sound Plymouth, the UK’s premier proving area (over 1,000 square kilometres of authorised and de-conflicted water space) for designing, testing and developing cutting edge products, services, standards and assurances for the marine sector.

The Marine Institute is a comprehensive Canadian centre for post-secondary education, training, applied research and industrial support for the ocean industries. MI operates The Launch, a hub of innovation, discovery, learning, leadership, and collaboration for the global oceans sector and the home of Canada’s first Maritime Autonomous Systems Testbed (MAST).

Fittingly, the MoU between the two partners was signed at Oceanology International, a bi-annual event that brings together innovators, researchers and businesses within the blue economy and ocean technology communities to share best practice, knowledge and strengthen collaborative ways of working.