UK Aquaculture Initiative Network. Aquaculture Research Collaborative Hub -UK (ARCH-UK)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Institute of Aquaculture

Abstract

The UK aquaculture sector contributes around £600 million to a UK seafood industry worth at £6.3 billion in 2016. The UK seafood market is complex and includes large added value through wild fish imports, and both wild and farmed seafood exports. Within the UK the aquaculture sector in England, Wales and N. Ireland collectively produce 19,000 metric tons (mt) of shellfish and 9,200 mt of trout, with production coming mainly from SMEs. Scotland is a major producer of Atlantic salmon (>163,000 mt; third largest producer globally) and the industry is both highly consolidated and export focused. In Scotland there is also significant trout (6,000 mt) and shellfish (6,300 mt) production. There is also a significant and expanding aquaculture industry in England, Wales and Ireland, most notably for shellfish with the largest single UK shellfish farm in Southwest England.

In order for the UK to remain competitive within this rapidly growing sector it is essential that the expansion of the industry is supported by high quality, innovative research to better understand the basic biology, health and environmental interactions of farmed fish and shellfish and to ensure a sustainable future. In this application it is proposed that a single aquaculture network called the Aquaculture Research Collaborative Hub-UK (ARCH-UK) will be established operating through two groups, the Finfish Aquaculture Group and the Shellfish Aquaculture Group to support the development of scientific knowledge and technological capability to help to provide solutions to the shared and specific issues preventing growth in all sectors in the UK aquaculture industry.

ARCH will develop a community of academic based researchers and related businesses to foster collaborative activities to help identify and develop new approaches to tackle major research and innovation challenges and to help deliver key benefits to the UK aquaculture sector. The network will draw in researchers from the main disciplin of biological and environmental sciences and will actively engage with researchers from engineering, economics, social science, remote sensing and computational modelling.

Technical Summary

The ARCH network will consist of a management group Hub and working groups. The network will be led by PIs from the University of Stirling and Swansea University, supported by Co-Is from the University of Aberdeen and University of Exeter. A management Hub will be made up from the PIs, CoIs, network managers, workgroup leaders and the KE Fellow, and will meet to discuss the aims, objective, progress and outputs of the network.

Within the network there will be two groups - Finfish and Shellfish - reflecting the differences in principles, practice and challenges in the two main UK aquaculture sectors. Each group will have their own work groups that will focus on UK wide aquaculture priorities. The Finfish Group will be led by Brendan McAndrew and the Shellfish Group (SAG) by Andrew Rowley. The work groups (WG) will be led by an experienced academic who will convene an open network of leading academic, industry, governmental and regulatory stakeholders. They will be assisted in this by the respective network managers, based at Stirling and Swansea, who will ensure the widest possible engagement with the relevant scientific and stakeholders and an open request for membership of the different WGs. Each WG will work to develop a concise and focused set of research priorities which will reflect the view of the members of the WG and the wider community that they represent, as well as the medium to long term priority requirements of the industry. The latter will be achieved by consultation and feedback from relevant stakeholder organisations and a process of expert elicitation using experienced facilitators, Hub and WG resources. The outputs from the various WGs will be made available to the stakeholder community via the ARCH website and trade organisations. The management Hub will have to responsibility to ensure that duplication of effort between the WGs is avoided.

Planned Impact

An integrated aquaculture network, called the Aquaculture Research Collaborative Hub-UK (ARCH-UK) will be established. This will:

1. Facilitate the exchange of knowledge between academia and other stakeholders, including industry.
2. Support the UK Aquaculture Initiative by providing expertise and strategic advice on potential priorities for future research funding.
3. Assist in developing early career researchers and others new to aquaculture. This will create a community of new researcher with the ability to assist industry in future years.

Overall, ARCH-UK will build capacity and expertise in sustainable aquaculture and thereby make a valuable contribution to national food security.
 
Description A key objective of ARCH-UK for Year 1 was to create Working Groups and to employ these to draft reports on research needs for UK Aquaculture. Eight Working Groups were formed each with two academic staff as leads. They drafted a report on research needs for their field and submitted these to the grant holders in late summer 2017. These reports are available on the web site for ARCH-UK. The Hub of ARCH-UK then drafted a summary (strategic) report that was submitted to the funders (BBSRC and NERC) for use in their development of the final call for funding in the Aquaculture Initiative. In Year 2 of ARCH UK we have organised our first Annual Meeting (Belfast, September 2018) and several themed workshops. We have also concentrated on the development of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) by holding training sessions and ensuring their involvement in workshops. We provide financial support of ca. £150 for each ECR to attend workshops. All of these events have been well-received by delegates. In Year 3 of ARCH-UK we organised several workshops, organised our second Annual Science Event (Stirling, July 19) and provided opportunities for early career researchers to take greater roles in ARCH-UK. The Annual Report due to be submitted to the funders in March 2020 gives details of these activities and those planned for 2020-21
Exploitation Route Outcomes of ARCH UK will be taken forward by academia, industry and policy.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

URL https://www.aquaculturehub-uk.com
 
Description The purpose of ARCH-UK is to facilitate the development of a community of people that works together towards the goal of the development of sustainable aquaculture systems. It also has the role of academic leadership in helping RCUK develop a strategic research agenda that will underpin capacity and the needs of industry. Overall, our role is assist in the development of a thriving aquaculture community in the UK that will help industry in the national food security agenda. To achieve these goals we have:1. Creating Eight Working Groups; 2. Formed an independent Advisory Board that reports to the funders and guides the Hub as necessary; 3. Provided a Strategic Report to the funders; 4. Created a Website and Twitter that informs our membership; 5. Developed a focussed group to meet the needs of Early Career Researchers (in our case this refers to all postdoctoral staff not in permanent posts) and 6. Developed focussed Workshops and Annual Science Events (The first of these took place in 2018). Both the Annual Science Event and the Workshops were highly successful events.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description REPORT FROM ARCH-UK ON THE POTENTIAL RESEARCH PRIORITIES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM'S AQUACULTURE R&D
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact This will strengthen the research capability of the academic and industrial community in the UK. ARCH-UK proves a mechanism to review progress of the final round of the Aquaculture Initiative grants
 
Description Witness in Scottish Parliament inquiry on salmon farming
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description MASTS Sustainable Aquaculture Forum
Amount £16,000 (GBP)
Organisation Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 01/2019
 
Description ARCH-UK membership 
Organisation Seafish
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution ARCH-UK holds a database of over 480 individuals as of March 2019 and their organisations in the UK that are kept informed on a regular basis (monthly newsletters) of the outcomes of the project and how they can be involved. Of the ca. 480 members, 282 are from academia and 94 from industry (producers and suppliers). These members have been invited to meetings of Working Groups and the Annual Science Event that were held during 2018-19. The membership is across industry, regulators and academia. ARCH-UK hub has a high profile on Twitter that has grown by 247% since last year. Google searches for ARCH-UK stand at 2,029 - an increase of 458%. SAGB and Seafish are key partner organisations that provide support via the Advisory Board and participate in our meetings.
Collaborator Contribution These individuals have contributed their expertise in drafting the Strategic Report that was submitted to BBSRC/NERC in late 2017. They participate in workshops organised by ARCH-UK by helping with the organisation and delivering talks.
Impact 1. Strategic Report to BBSRC/NERC Aquaculture Initiative 2. Organisation and participation in workshops 3. Act as advisors via membership of the Advisory Board
Start Year 2017
 
Description ARCH-UK membership 
Organisation Shellfish Association of Great Britain
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution ARCH-UK holds a database of over 480 individuals as of March 2019 and their organisations in the UK that are kept informed on a regular basis (monthly newsletters) of the outcomes of the project and how they can be involved. Of the ca. 480 members, 282 are from academia and 94 from industry (producers and suppliers). These members have been invited to meetings of Working Groups and the Annual Science Event that were held during 2018-19. The membership is across industry, regulators and academia. ARCH-UK hub has a high profile on Twitter that has grown by 247% since last year. Google searches for ARCH-UK stand at 2,029 - an increase of 458%. SAGB and Seafish are key partner organisations that provide support via the Advisory Board and participate in our meetings.
Collaborator Contribution These individuals have contributed their expertise in drafting the Strategic Report that was submitted to BBSRC/NERC in late 2017. They participate in workshops organised by ARCH-UK by helping with the organisation and delivering talks.
Impact 1. Strategic Report to BBSRC/NERC Aquaculture Initiative 2. Organisation and participation in workshops 3. Act as advisors via membership of the Advisory Board
Start Year 2017
 
Description 1st ARCH-UK Annual Science Event, Belfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 1st ARCH-UK Annual Science Event (ASE) was held in collaboration with the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Belfast and attracted over 80 delegates. Prior to the event, ARCH-UK membership from stakeholders based in Ireland was low, this event provided us with the opportunity to raise awareness about ARCH-UK in this region, encouraging increased membership and collaboration. The event gave a report on the current UK finfish (Iain Berrill, SSPO) and shellfish (Stefano Carboni, IoA) aquaculture industrial and research challenges.

Additionally, the 2018 funded BBSRC/NERC Aquaculture Initiative projects were announced (total £5.1 million investment by UKRI) with and overview given by project leads.

Aquaculture Early Career Researchers (ECRs) were championed at this event, with a specific networking session designed to increase relationships between ECRs and the project leads, senior academics, industry and government stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ARCH-UK WG 1 Finfish and Shellfish Microbiome Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Microbiome research in aquaculture is in its relative infancy in comparison with other disciplines.
Over 70 researchers from a wide variety of specialisms and sectors, including from human and mammalian health, microbial ecology, bioinformatics, metagenomics, and shellfish and finfish aquaculture, came together with industry to discuss understanding on microbiomes and their importance in the future development of aquaculture. The meeting sought to draw on knowledge in microbiome research gained through studies on human and livestock health in particular, where studies of this nature have been ongoing for many years.

The meeting was truly interdisciplinary in both the assembled researchers and outlook. A series of thought provoking presentations was followed by round table discussions to identify skills and resource gaps, opportunities for collaboration and the best research approach moving forward. There was a strong representation from ECRs throughput via poster presentations, contributions to discussions and the resulting recommendations, which are summarised on the ARCH-UK website. A position paper is currently in preparation by the meeting organisers (Prof Sam Martin, Prof Charles Tyler, Dr David Bass, Dr Martyn Llewellyn) to capture the scientific consensus based on the meeting discussions for the academic community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ARCH-UK WG 6 Seafood Consumption Initiative (SCI), Stirling 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 'Sustainable Seafood Consumption Initiative' was launched by Dave Little (ARCH-UK WG 6 Lead) Rachel Norman and Stacia Stetkiewicz (University of Stirling) on 14 June in partnership with ARCH-UK as part of the Global Food Security research programme. The aim of this workshop was to discuss how UK families could be encouraged to consume one more portion of
shellfish or finfish per week, transforming the UK food industry, and to discuss how the aquaculture community can help to put 'seafood' central to global food security discussions.

Over 50 delegates heard talks from Worldfish, Seafish, the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well as international colleagues from Cambodia, Bangladesh, Zambia, Malawi and Ghana. The role that seafood currently plays in global food security discussions was highlighted to be relatively low, and plans were put forward to develop potential GCRF projects on seafood, nutrition and health. Discussion emphasised the importance of gaining a global perspective for the creation of new markets and effective public education. Ensuring food safety and sustainability by sharing best practice (of which the UK was identified world leading in this respect) was also encouraged to improve public perception.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59662d71197aea598d1455a0/t/5c13e0910e2e7243b79acd82/154480654...
 
Description Aquaculture Priority Subjects Working Groups 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In establishing the ARCH-UK network we had been given the remit to identify priority strategic research topics for the whole UK aquaculture sector. This entailed the development of a website and the identification of eight Aquaculture subject area champions to lead networks and identify research challenges that are limiting the long-term sustainable development of the UK aquaculture sector. These open forums were open to all who indicated an active interest in one or more of the themes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://aquaculturehub-uk.com
 
Description Engagement with representatives of aquaculture industry and their organisations in the UK-Seafish Aquaculture Common Issues Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Seafish represents the UK aquaculture and fisheries organisations. Andrew Rowley and others from the ARCH-UK hub have attended all meetings in 2017-2020 and given updates on our activities to an audience of industry, regulators and other interested parties. We use this to publicise our workshops to ensure industry engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020
 
Description Industry workshop on salmon RAS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The purpose of the event was to exchange knowledge and data on RAS in Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Industry-Academia workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Outputs from a collaborative trial with PHARMAQ (part of Zoetis) in SALMOTRIP+ project have led to discussions to establish a research partnership for Knowledge Exchange between UoS and NOFIMA (Grete Bæverfjord) to support R&D for Zoetis on spinal health challenges in salmon.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description International workshop on aquaculture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Academics from 4 UK Universities (Stirling, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter) together with CEFAS and 3 Universities from East China Sea (Ningbo, Zhejiang and Shanghai) co-organised a conference to exchange knowledge on challenges faced by the aquaculture sector including breeding and genetics, health and environment. The event was attended by academics, students and industry. This led to in depth discussion on future research collaborations to tackle some of the discussed challenges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Technical delivery & excellence on contract trial commercial feed screening during 2017 for clients has opened up opportunities for further R&D links with Australian salmon industry facilitated through BioMar UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SSPO technical meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An opportunity was provided by SSPO to present a brief overview about ARCH-UK at their technical meeting. This event was designed specifically for an industry audience and experience of which will aid ARCH-UK in encouraging future industry engagement at our events. Useful insights and perspectives were gained from networking with delegates to inform the design of future ARCH-UK activities. The possibility of ECR visits to farm sights (a need identified by ARCH-UK WG 8) was also discussed with a number of producers, with the aim to improve ECR understanding of farm operations and how to effectively design and manage collaborative projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Sterility workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 90 academics and industry representatives will attend the workshop from the Uk, Norway, Canada, USA and Tasmania.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description WAS AQUA 2018, Montpellier 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a once-every-6-years event co-organised by the European Aquaculture Society (EAS) and the World Aquaculture Society (WAS), and is one of the largest international gatherings of aquaculture researchers with industry. ARCH-UK representation at the event was used to scope the possibility of curating a 'UK aquaculture' session at the next EAS event (Aquaculture Europe 7th to10th October 2019), to identify relevant international links, and to discuss existing and successful mentorship schemes with EAS staff. The ARCH-UK Working Group 8 ECR community have indicated that a UK aquaculture mentorship scheme would be beneficial to career progression and facilitate future collaboration. Advice from EAS staff suggests that mentorship schemes should be as flexible as possible in terms of what mentees can achieve whilst giving a 3-6 month timeframe to achieve the agreed task or gain specific experience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018