Michael_Matheson speaking at NSC launch

Cabinet secretary calls RGU ‘best partner in taking forward’ National Subsea Centre

By David Proctor - 31 January 2023

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport has praised the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) for working together with RGU on the National Subsea Centre (NSC).

Michael Matheson said RGU was the “best partner” for the NZTC to move forward with the facility given the University’s track record in research and its links with the energy industry.

He was speaking at the official opening of the NSC and feels expertise at the University coupled with industry know-how will be vital for the project going forward.

The NSC is the multi-million-pound Centre of Excellence for subsea research and technology development, delivered through partnership between NZTC and RGU through the Aberdeen City Region Deal. 

Mr Matheson also said that with RGU and the NZTC collaborating at the Dyce facility would be “absolutely key” in ensuring it was a successful in the years ahead. 

He said that partnerships were vital for Scotland’s energy transition as we move away from traditional types of energy over the coming years.

Mr Matheson said: “This centre is going to be key in helping to make sure that the North East of Scotland continues to lead the world in subsea technology.   But alongside that, I can't help feel that you have probably selected the best partner in taking forward the facility of this nature in working with Robert Gordon University, particularly given your track record in demand-led type of research. And working in close collaboration and partnership with the energy sector over an extended period of time and a considerable level of academic expertise in energy sector within your institution. And that partnership, I think, is absolutely key to helping to deliver the success of this centre.

“Not just because of the partnership between the Net Zero Technology Centre and Robert Gordon University, but the partnership between local councils, whether it be Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, City Council, the UK government and the Scottish government. That collaboration, along with industry, is absolutely key to making sure we deliver a just and fair transition. And one of the key aspects that I see that this centre is critical in helping to support us achieve is to bring together what I would maybe refer to, and I think it's been touched upon in a few of the contributions so far.

“That is the triple helix of bringing together the private sector, academia and the public sector to make sure that we're developing the technology and the knowledge that's necessary to help you to support us in our energy transition and in the subsea sector in particular. And as we transition in our energy pathway to a new cleaner system, less reliant upon fossil fuels, demands on areas such as our marine environment will change significantly.

“That, in my view, is what this centre is critical to supporting us in achieving. The strength of this centre won't just be because of the great academic expertise that it has, or the great technical expertise that it has. It will be the partnerships that are forged and how we make sure we sustain those and develop those going forward."

The NSC was officially launched on January 11 and explores the new technology needed by the energy industry to meet challenges of reduced emissions from operations, cost-effective and resilient power grids and the need to develop a highly skilled digital workforce.

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