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Archive for October, 2014

Energetic Creative Thinking at MIT

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

It is a glorious late fall morning in Boston, with the trees on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT ) and by the Charles river showing the colours that New England is famous for in October. But much as I like the splendour of the seasons, that’s not why I’m in Cambridge MA,  with my colleague Norma Hogan. Later today we will be joined by around a dozen businesses from all over the Highlands and Islands.

 So why are we in Boston, and why MIT? Well we have been working with one of the worlds leading tech universities for 10 years now, in fact my first visit here was in October 2004 where we focussed on IT and Creative Media technologies through the MIT Media lab. Over the years HIE has concentrated on tapping into the Universities specific expertise into venture funding, entrepreneurship, and “doing business the American way”.

 However we have had some success in taking groups of companies from the H&I in a specific sector or supply chain, and exposing them to a series of research projects and technologies being developed by different students and facility (MIT is very much a research and post graduate institution – they have very few undergrads). We do this through our Membership of MIT’s Industrial Liaison programme, where over 200 of the world’s leading companies and research institutes work and interact with MIT. Our key contact there is Marie-Teresa Vander Sande, who we have worked with for many years, and is a great friend to HIE and the H&I. She will be hosting us for our visit.

The purpose of these visits is twofold. Firstly to highlight to businesses in the North of Scotland relevant early stage research and development in areas of direct interest, but which can be slightly left field or whacky. Secondly it’s to take a group of Scottish business people, technologists and project developers out of their “comfort zone” and encourage new types of networking and discussions. In the past we have had groups from the IT, Healthcare, Life Science and Creative Industries sectors undertake visits to Cambridge.

This time it is businesses in the marine sector, wave and tidal, who are “technology scouting”, before they travel on to Halifax in Nova Scotia next week, for the International Ocean Energy Conference. I’ll keep you posted on the cool, weird and wonderful things that we see here over the next few days.


From Calum Davidson , Director Energy and Low Carbon 

Highland and Islands Enterprise 


From Norma Hogan, at the Seventh Bristol Tidal Energy Forum

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Some of the HIE Energy Team are in a wet and windy Bristol today, attending REGEN South West’s 7th Tidal Energy Forum at Burges Salmon’s offices, looking at Marine Operations for Tidal Energy. Over 100 delegates have gathered for the conference from as far afield as France, Netherlands and of course the Highlands and Islands. We have heard from supply chain companies who are on the ground delivering marine operations, including Mojo Maritime.  Johnny Gowdy, director Regen SW kicked off the day with an overview of the state of the marine sector in Bristol, Pembrokeshire and the South West. This afternoon we can look forward to hearing from developers – Atlantis, Alstom Ocean Energy and Tidal Energy Limited. 

Norma Hogan, Senior Development Manager – Wave and Tidal – HIE

From Calum Davidson at the European Ocean Energy Conference in Paris

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

It is unseasonably warm in Paris, and the marine energy part of team Scotland has moved en mass from the Scottish Renewables Wave and Tidal Conference in Inverness last week, some via the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, to the French capital. Whilst the focus is on how Europe is leading the world in the marine sector, and a major showcasing of potential French tidal projects, its clear that EU ambitions are built on Scottish success.
This was clearly demonstrated in some of the early sessions, where speakers from a range of European countries talked about proposed projects, about route maps for consents, environmental management and the need for further testing and research.  Scottish speakers focused on how projects have been delivered, best practice in government support, and how we moved on to delivering financial engineering solutions as well as physial engineering.
This year’s European Ocean Energy Conference, with 2014 in Paris following on from last years event in Edinburgh, has highlighted how the wave and tidal sector has moved right up the political agenda in Brussels, with Energy securtity, and the need for new low carbon electricty generation from European resources driving a new focus from the Commission. Scotland, and the Highlands and Islands with 25% of EU tidal resource and 10% of its wave power,  is in pole position to deliver that.

Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon, HIE.