Maritime Research & Innovation UK

Companies urged to join new collaborative research and innovation vehicle

Initial focus on autonomy, green shipping and seabed mapping

(Register interest below)

MarRI-UK is an industry-led initiative, currently involving more than eight companies, one trade association, and four universities to address the lack of coordination and resource in the maritime research and development. Work undertaken by industry and academia has sought to shape an initiative, which builds coordination and resource in the maritime research and development, namely Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK). 

The following points provide a brief overview on MarRI-UK.

What? Maritime research and innovation centre within mid Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs 3-7) and Commercial Readiness Levels to address the ‘valley of opportunity’ between ‘discovery and research’ and ‘commercialisation with focus on Technology and Systems.

Why? Maritime sector innovation is not often coordinated or attuned to national priorities, and no-independent body has oversight. Individual companies and universities have insufficient resource to apply to the national interest, especially as it requires coordination across such a diverse industry. MarRI-UK is needed for collaboration and synergy nationwide to meet challenges and opportunities in the maritime sector.

Who? Key specialists from industry, academia, and representative bodies in a collaborative partnership.

When? Rolling innovation roadmap-based programme extending to continuous industry-led and research projects.

How? MarRI-UK would be a hybrid of physical and virtual working, encompassing a physical centre with a small core team in Glasgow. MarRI-UK will develop prescriptive research and innovation programme driven by industry needs, coupled with bottom-up fundamental research projects. It will focus on key drivers: Business growth, Safety and Environmental regulation and Cost reduction.


MarRI-UK will be an open tier-level membership organisation, for UK companies and researchers. There are three tier levels proposed for FY 2019/20 membership fees. Each member’s fee would provide leveraged access to a significantly large amount of research and innovation. Specific benefits can be seen in below table:

Tier Role Businesses Benefits Fee
1 Set core research agenda Key industry leaders Direct research agenda. Membership on strategy board and technical strategy team. £50k
2 Access to research Industry support organisations Access to Tier 1 and research. Platform to showcase capabilities. Member of Tier 2 membership committee. Tier 2 representative on strategy board. Tier 2 representative on technical strategy team. £10K
3 Platform to engage Supply chain SMEs Access to events. Platform to showcase capabilities. Member of Tier 3 membership committee. Three sub-levels of membership to accommodate different SME needs. £1k

Research focus:

The foundation partners have identified five areas of research focus: autonomous ship, holistic efficiency, integration and system of systems, integrated data, information and knowledge management and support, and safe complex system. Seabed mapping and green energy ships are examples of applications that cut across the identified areas of focus. 


A maritime sector strengthened by the MarRI-UK will help the co-ordination of research across the sector by giving an understanding of commercial opportunities aligned to a shared roadmap. The commitment from organisations involved in this initiative has demonstrated that MarRI-UK is likely to play a critical role in supporting and delivering innovation for the maritime sector in the UK.

By joining MarRI-UK, members can propose research and innovation agenda, objectives and planning of MarRI-UK based on the company needs, and direct the development of maritime research and innovation planning. This will be a significant opportunity for members to engage in multidisciplinary research to achieve practical, effective solutions for members’ technological challenge through strong integration between industry, representative organisations, and academia.

Foundation members: 

Babcock, BAE, BMT, Lloyd’s Register, QinetiQ, Shell, Newcastle University, University of Southampton, University of Strathclyde, University College London, Society of Maritime Industries.