AECOM – a global integrated infrastructure services company, and its partners UK Water Ltd and WRc – have won an £800,000 contract to deliver the ‘Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service’ to the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Hydro Nation Strategy is designed to deliver economic growth through maximising the economic benefits of the country’s water resources by reducing energy use and improving efficiency.
AECOM will manage the three-year programme to support the economic development of Scotland’s water resources from its offices in Scotland.
The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service was launched by Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands, at the World Water Congress held recently in Edinburgh.
The scheme will help raise Scotland’s international profile as a leader in water management and increase global understanding of the circular economy.
The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service will also provide access to specialist support, as well as test and demonstration facilities. One of its goals will be to increase international trade by bringing more water technology products to market, and encouraging international collaboration.
AECOM will work principally with environmental technology small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the water and waste water sector across Scotland to help turn near-market research into tangible opportunities. The team will provide technical and commercial support to help take water technologies and services to final testing and validation and bring ideas to market faster.
Mackay said: “The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service aims to grow the water economy, create new businesses and jobs.It will tackle specific barriers faced by small and medium sized businesses in bringing products to the market, such as testing under live network conditions, gaining certification and accreditation.”
Marc Barone, AECOM UK & Ireland managing director for water, (left) said: “This exciting new service will help create a culture of innovation in the UK water industry, unlocking opportunities for Scottish firms to turn their ideas and products into commercial realities.
“Aecom, which employs nearly 800 people in Scotland, and its partners will principally work with Scottish environmental technology SMEs in the water and waste water sector, to help turn near-market research into tangible opportunities
“The UK water sector has historically lacked an aligned vision and failed to grasp how high-quality research can be commercialised. It has not supported the transition from strong academic research to marketable products, or given early-stage technology companies the commercial know-how to think about products and markets on a global scale. A lack of centralised resources for testing and validating new products has hampered innovation.
“This is why Scotland’s Hydro Nation Strategy is so vital to the country’s economic prosperity.
The Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service will be open to company enquiries from July 2015, after which the first batch of companies to be supported by the scheme will be chosen.