University collaborator wins Merseyside Innovation Award

A local maritime company, Marlan Maritime Technologies Ltd, that has been collaborating with the University and National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) has won the Merseyside Innovation Award for 2017.

The company won the highly contested award for its new product that provides a unique radar-based solution to coastal hydrodynamic and bathymetric monitoring that was developed through the partnership.

Since 2012, Marlan Maritime Technologies Ltd has worked with the School of Environmental Science and NOC including a successful ERDF-funded PhD project as part of the University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation (CGE).

The company is now engaged on a new phase of PhD projects with the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory (LCEI) plus a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop innovative remote sensing services for the survey of intertidal zones.  This builds on the existing collaborative R&D between the three organisations with the KTP associate, Dr Cai Bird, having completed his PhD with Marlan through CGE.

Professor Andy Plater, support academic on the KTP from the University, said: “The success is down to the close research collaboration between the University of Liverpool, NOC and Marlan. The KTP enables us to further develop CGE research, and is a great example of the commercial and societal impact that can be achieved by connecting world-leading research expertise with the innovative thinking and inspiration of SMEs like Marlan Maritime.”

Alex Sinclair, Managing Director at Marlan Maritime, said: “I’m blown away to have won this award. As a new company, the prize fund will be invested in obtaining expert advice from industry leaders as we feel that before we can exploit international markets, we must first use the knowledge that is right here in Liverpool.

“Liverpool’s history is firmly rooted in maritime trade and science, from the first commercial naval radar experiments in 1946, to the groundbreaking work on tides done at the National Oceanography Centre over the last century. We want to continue this tradition and continue to develop great innovations and science.”

Dr Paul Bell, from the NOC, added: “The ability to conduct intertidal beach surveys every couple of weeks using a robust and automated remote sensing system will provide an unprecedented window on the way key areas of coastline respond to storms, recover in calmer weather, and evolve following any coastal engineering works. The current KTP with Marlan is accelerating this cutting-edge development from the realms of a research project to a fully-fledged commercial service.”

The company was presented with its award and £10,000 cash prize by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, who said: “I’d like to congratulate Marlan Maritime and all the nominated companies. Merseyside is home to some amazing businesses. We need to be at the heart of innovation to create an eco-system for businesses to thrive. Great ideas reinforce the entrepreneurial spirit in Liverpool.”

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