Scientists from the University's internationally acclaimed Institute of Aquaculture have won the 'Innovative Collaboration Award' at the Scottish Enterprise Life Sciences Awards for their £4 million project to boost production in the Scottish salmon farming industry.
Aquaculture experts from the University of Stirling collaborated with the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, world-leading salmon producers Marine Harvest Scotland, Scottish Sea Farms and feed manufacturer Biomar, to develop for the first time the sustainable farming of wrasse- a cleaner fish which supports the efficient production of salmon. Wrasse, has been shown to significantly reduce the sea lice challenge to salmon - an issue that has hampered growth in the industry.
Professor Hervé Migaud, Director of Research at the Institute of Aquaculture, and a team of researchers have been using wrasse as part of a sustainable, integrated pest management strategy and worked with industry experts to develop the knowledge and capacity to produce domesticated, disease-free farmed wrasse.
(L-R) Fred McAuley, Paddy Campbell, Dave Cockerill, Herve Migaud, Jamie Hepburn MSP
The project has since been rolled out at Machrihanish on the west coast of Scotland and has helped create new jobs in both salmon and wrasse production.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: "Congratulations to colleagues in the Institute of Aquaculture on winning this award.
"It recognises the strength of University and industry collaboration and demonstrates commitment to providing practical solutions from our research base.
"It is a clear demonstration of the benefits of University/industry collaboration in supporting growth."
Lead researcher, Professor Hervé Migaud, said: "We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award and have thoroughly enjoyed working with industry to bring this project to life.
"Working collaboratively, the project is helping solve the bottlenecks limiting productivity and improves the quality and delousing efficacy of farmed wrasse. Knowledge gained from the project has helped fish farmers receive a beginning-to-end guide on the breeding and husbandry of farmed wrasse.
"The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre's support and funding has enabled us to extend this project from proof of concept to the commercial environment. The impact of the research is proving to be considerable in both scientific and economic terms."
The awards, held in Edinburgh on 4 February, recognise the success and achievements of Scotland's internationally renowned life sciences sector in areas including innovation, investment, community engagement and collaboration.
Julia Brown, Senior Director of Life and Chemical Sciences at Scottish Enterprise said: "Congratulations to this year's winners. The quality of the finalists and winners were outstanding and is testament to the strength of the skills pool that makes up the Scottish life sciences industry."
Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture is the No.1 research and training department in the UK with 100% of its research classed as world-leading.