Other activities

Fisheries Research Vessel: Alba na Mara

© Crown copyright 2010

Other activities occurring on the UKCS that may contribute economic productivity and/or support existing activities include research and development (R&D), education and general management and regulation.

Internationally, the UK is a leading provider for marine tertiary education, which directly contributes to productivity through the use of the marine environment for field studies. Education in turn underpins a number of other principal activities, such as providing support for leisure, maritime transport, and R&D activities. Likewise, R&D activities may provide support for other marine industries. General management and regulation, rather than producing a marketable product, is an ancillary activity that provides support for all activities occurring on the UKCS.

The OCEAN Sampler collects plankton samples

© George Slesser, Marine Scotland Science

The values of these three sectors are difficult to identify due to the range of institutions involved, the wide distribution of activities and the lack of centrally available statistics that are specifically marine in focus. Funding levels may provide an indicator of the ancillary value of R&D and associated knowledge. The Research Council’s spending on marine science in 2006/07 was £67 million. All of the research institutes combined had an average annual income of £76 million (GVA) from 2006 to 2008. The turnover related to education is estimated to be £132 million with a GVA of £95 million. The downstream value to be gained from R&D and education is likely to be significant. The turnover of general management and regulation activities includes income of £109.39 million from public administration, £3.06 billion from business services and £102 million from licence and rental (£42 million from the Crown Estate and £60 million from oil and gas licensing).

Students taking part in Discover Oceanography onboard the University of Southampton RV Callista

© University of Southampton

Environmental impacts from education and R&D are likely to be minimal due to the benign nature of most activities, however key pressures may include wildlife disturbance, physical disturbance and removal, noise and loss of habitat from construction of coastal facilities.

Trends in this group of activities are driven by high level policy developments and changes in economic activities related to a number of factors including market demand, investment, and technological progress. These in turn indirectly drive cognitive development in the marine environment, funding for R&D and education and the need for regulation and management of activities in the marine environment. Industry investment in R&D may decrease in the short term due to the current economic situation. The Marine Science Strategy will help us to identify priority areas for future research.

Due to an increased focus on the marine environment (within various new marine policies and marine planning initiatives) demand for related marine education programmes and the need for general management and regulation activities is likely to increase.