SOLENT University has been awarded more than £160,000 to help develop sustainable maritime technology.

The Southampton institution is among 11 winners of the funding for innovative technology that meets environmental demands.

A total of £1.5million was awarded as part of the Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Call, an initiative by Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MARRI-UK), supported by the Department for Transport.

Solent University was awarded £164,000 towards a £262,000 project, the Intelligent Ship Centre, or Ignite, led by the technology group Wartsila.

The project will provide an accurate, scaled demonstration of autonomous and remote technologies in maritime – supporting the business case for adopting the technologies.

MARRI-UK said: “This innovative proof-of-concept will bridge the gap between scaled models, digital simulation and control in an accurate and realistic way.”

The initiative follows the launch in January 2019 of Maritime 2050, the government’s long-term vision for the future of the UK sector. It includes a commitment to strengthen innovation in maritime and maximise the benefits from new technology. The latest call for funding applications was launched that September, with 59 consortiums applying.

Harry Theochari, chair of Maritime UK, said: “Research and innovation will be a major driver of growth as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Despite the crisis, the grand challenges of our age remain, and the UK maritime sector must redouble its efforts to gain competitive advantage across the industries of tomorrow.

“As we seek to build back better, this sector is uniquely positioned to deliver regionally balanced, green growth.

“Whilst meeting net-zero is our foremost challenge, we should not lose sight of the other opportunities that we face, including digitisation, automation, and efficiency.

“It is therefore fantastic to see so many credible solutions being successful in this second funding call. In what is a competitive global environment, the UK is making real waves. It is incumbent on both industry and government to ensure that these ideas are supported, and we increase the level of investment in research and innovation for the sector.”

Maritime minister Kelly Tollhurst said: “Innovation and technological advancements are key to developing a more efficient and advanced maritime sector as we build a green legacy from Covid-19.

Through our ambitious Maritime 2050 vision, this government continues to support creative and innovative solutions to enhance our maritime transport, and I look forward to seeing the results of these cutting edge projects.”

John Howie, chair of MarRI-UK, said: “The 11 successful projects are great examples of UK technology and innovation, helping the UK maritime sector meet the challenges and goals set out in the Maritime 2050 vision.”