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UK’S First maritime innovation hub at Port of Tyne celebrates 1st anniversary with virtual sprint

Posted on 18 August 2020

UK’S First maritime innovation hub at Port of Tyne celebrates 1st anniversary with virtual sprint

The Port of Tyne’s unique 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub – the UK’s first and only Innovation centre for maritime – turned 1 recently. This important maritime innovation milestone was marked with a very appropriate virtual innovation sprint event, on Zoom.

Maritime innovation has always been important and never more so than now, as the community collectively addresses the challenges and opportunities for UK maritime in a post Covid world.  During the online anniversary celebrations, senior delegates from across industry and academia explored how the Port of Tyne’s Innovation Hub could evolve to deliver even greater value.  

Over the past 12 months, the 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub has hosted over 20 events, welcoming hundreds of businesses and academics from diverse industries – including space, defence, renewable energy, the rail industry, the RAF, data science and AI – to share ideas, concepts and strategies. The Hub’s events programme has also included a hackathon and an Innovation Live forum, where high tech start-ups pitched their business ideas to win funding.

Led by Technology and Transformation Director, Dr Jo North, Port of Tyne’s 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub was ambitiously launched in direct response to the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy. This called for ports in the UK to become more innovative and to open centres of excellence within ten years to support this growth. Port of Tyne were first to act, opening the doors to its Hub within just 6 months.

Port of Tyne Technology and Transformation Director, Dr Jo North says: “We are very proud to have been the first port in the UK to act positively and we are now reaping the benefits, with strong partnerships being forged and the chance to explore new initiatives to boost our business. Our vision to become fully carbon neutral by 2030 is a big step closer and all this has been achieved under exceptional conditions, with the Innovation Hub migrating to host virtual events with Zoom when it was no longer possible to meet in person.”

In addition to raising awareness about how the maritime industry can benefit from advanced technology and innovation techniques, the initiative has led to new business opportunities at the Port of Tyne. Earlier in the year, Port of Tyne was selected as the operations and maintenance base for what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank and is now in the process of installing solar PV panels on its warehouses.

CEO at Port of Tyne, Matt Beeton, says: “We all want a green recovery and ports have a very important role to play, as catalysts for economic development in the north east and also nationally. But to do that, we need to learn from great minds and technology innovators. The 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub creates opportunities to collaborate and learn, allowing us to stay at the forefront of maritime innovation.”

Port of Tyne would like to formally recognise its innovation partners, without whom the 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub events would not have been possible: PD Ports, Nissan, Connected Places Catapult, Accenture, Royal Haskoning DHV, Ubisoft and the Department for Transport (DfT).

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