ScotMER: Scottish Marine Energy Research Programme

Submitted by ScotMER Team (Alexander Gilliland, Claire Gorby, Lucy Trimble, Coleen Murty, and Mariya Menova) on Mar 12, 2024

ScotMER Logo

The Scottish Marine Energy Research (ScotMER) programme is a Scottish Government initiative that identifies and addresses key evidence needs to help inform licensing, consenting, and planning decisions around offshore renewable energy and disseminates that evidence back to a broad stakeholder community.

This is done through seven receptor groups: Ornithology; Marine Mammals; Fish and Fisheries; Diadromous Fish; Benthic Ecology; Physical Processes; and Socioeconomics.

Each receptor group consists of experts from across government, industry (developers and fishing industry), non-governmental organizations, statutory nature conservation bodies, and academia. The groups meet regularly to discuss evidence gaps and develop research ideas to fill them. The evidence gaps are captured on evidence maps, which are made publicly available on the ScotMER Website. The research ideas are then developed into project ideas that are proposed to the Scottish Government and prioritized for inclusion into its research programme.

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ScotMER undertakes research on the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of many offshore renewable technologies, including wind, tidal, and wave energy. The outputs of these projects feed into both the Scottish National Marine Plan, which provides a comprehensive overarching framework for all marine activity in Scottish waters, and the Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy, which identifies sustainable plan options for future developments in Scotland. Following the most recent ScotWIND leasing round, which awarded 27.6 GW of fixed and floating offshore wind, the majority of ScotMER projects currently focus on offshore wind.

The ScotMER programme was first established in 2015 as the Scottish Offshore Renewables Research Framework (SpORRAn) to provide sound scientific and socioeconomic evidence to support decision making for offshore renewables and the marine environment. As the offshore renewables industry has grown in Scotland, so too has the budget and ambitions for the ScotMER programme, allowing for larger projects and enabling funding into more receptor groups.

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ScotMER is vital to ensuring the Scottish Government makes decisions based on the best available scientific evidence, while also working to improve the knowledge base for the future. As the ScotMER programme is embedded within the Scottish Government, it is unique in its ability to deliver impact directly to policy, planning, licensing, and consenting. However, it is not just about the research undertaken by ScotMER itself, the programme also collaborates with others across Scotland, the UK, and internationally though Tethys, WREN, and other research efforts.

All evidence and information collected through ScotMER is publicly available on the ScotMER Website. ScotMER also engages stakeholders through receptor groups, project steering groups, regional advisory groups, attendance at conferences, and by sitting on project/programme steering groups for other research programmes. Each year the programme holds a symposium showcasing the most up to date research for both the programme and from others in this area. The 6th ScotMER Symposium took place in February 2024 and received over 1,100 registered attendees from 30 different countries. Recordings from the symposium are now available on the Marine Directorate YouTube Channel and Tethys.

Additional information on ScotMER, project outputs, and evidence maps can all be found on the ScotMER Website, along with details and recordings from past ScotMER symposiums. For more information, please contact: