MERIKA (Marine Energy Research Innovation and Knowledge Accelerator) is an ambitious initiative by UHI (University of the Highlands and the Islands), located in Scotland and the UK’s outermost region. The project revolves around the concept of turning the UHI Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering into a reference research and innovation hub for all of Europe on the theme of marine energy. Funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme, the MERIKA Project runs from 2014-2017.
The region is endowed with a unique environment that enables research “where the resource is” for ocean wave, tidal and offshore wind power. Marine energy has the potential to meet a growing share of Europe’s energy demands in the years to come.
Research is needed to improve predictability, forecast techniques and to provide equipment and Instruments interactions to better manage development processes within a well preserved environment.
UHI already has a consolidated position within the international research community and MERIKA represents the opportunity for a leap forward to acquire and reinforce its status of “reference centre” in Europe.
The project relies on cooperation with seven high profile scientific institutions in Europe and is centred on two main blocks of activities. One intervenes on capital (human and physical) and one builds capacity, especially in areas related to innovation and protection or exploitation of knowledge.
The first block consists of: a comprehensive mobility programme with partnering organisations, a recruitment plan responding to precise needs for multidisciplinary competences to efficiently link different research strands, and a crucial upgrade in infrastructure, to enable UHI to function as the reference European hub for marine energy research.
The capacity building component is geared towards a better use of complementary funds, the reinforcement of international collaboration and the definition of a coherent innovation policy to enhance UHI’s potential in its cooperation with industry and other stakeholders.