Blue Economy research kicks off across Australia

23 Jun 2020

The Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has named 17 short-term scoping projects that will underpin the next 10 years of collaborations between industry and research partners, including researchers from The University of Queensland.

The CRC was announced in 2019 as a $329 million research project that will combine 41 organisations and improve Australian seafood and offshore renewable energy production.

This first round of projects is valued at over $2.3 million and will focus on industry-relevant projects in a range of areas, including:

  • Challenges in offshore aquaculture
  • Renewable energy infrastructure design
  • Marine energy conversion devices
  • Site selections procedures and monitoring strategies
  • Decision support tools for blue industries and human activities
  • Ethical, policy and regulatory frameworks for the blue economy.

UQ applied mechanics and water management experts, Associate Professors Martin Veidt and Ilje Pikaar will lead the Biofouling Challenges and Possible Solutions project, with the goal of helping to create aquaculture free from biofouling, reducing stress and risk to fish health, as well as reducing damage to off-shore renewable energy generation and aquaculture infrastructure caused by biofouling.

“Biofouling is considered a critical challenge for many of our CRC industry partners, so it is important that we collate and analyse the substantial knowledge of the problem and possible solutions available as a foundational project,” said Associate Professor Veidt.

World-renowned structural engineering researcher, Professor CM Wang was named the Offshore Engineering Program Leader, and will manage the Review of Fish Pen Designs and Mooring Systems.

“This study will review all existing inshore fish pens, assess their suitability for off-shore and high-energy application, and identify opportunities for improvement in their current environment,” said Professor Wang.

“We will consider failure modes, maintenance requirements, environmental compatibility and end-of-life strategies, with the aim of improving current practice and introducing new concepts for future fish pens.”

UQ water and environmental engineering researcher Dr Remo Cossu will be a Deputy Leader of the Environment and Ecosystems Program’s suite of projects, along with collaborator, Griffith University’s Professor Chris Frid and Program Leader CSIRO's Dr Beth Fulton.

“Together, we aim to set the research agenda for the years to come in terms of monitoring needs for offshore energy production and aquaculture,” said Dr Cossu.

A diverse group of researchers from a range of disciplines including civil, mechanical and materials engineering, water management, biological sciences and policy futures will contribute to a further five projects, as part of this first round of scoping projects.

These researchers will cover topics like autonomous marine systems, the potential of kelp aquaculture and policy and regulation of an emerging blue economy.

The full list of scoping projects that UQ researchers will contribute to include:

To see the full list of scoping projects, please visit

Read more information about UQ’s involvement in the Blue Economy CRC at UQ News.