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Record Applicants: Fund Raises Seafood Standards

UK - Seafish has received a record number of applications for funding under the 2009 Industry Project Fund (IPF). A total of 89 full proposals have been received, with a potential benefit to the seafood industry in excess of 7.8 million.

The Seafish Industry Project Fund is designed to support work that has widespread benefit to the industry and is dedicated to raising standards and improving efficiency within the seafood industry. Now in its third year, to date Seafish has been involved in more than 47 projects which have benefited the seafood industry to the tune of 2,500,000 by supporting research and development partnership projects, providing grant assistance for innovative ideas and bursaries for students.

Projects that have benefited from Seafish support include providing a set of tools to help impact assessment, safety training for fishing vessels, research into discarding and methods to maximise product quality and yield.

The IPF scheme is now in its third year (fourth round) and for 2009 we made some fundamental changes to how the scheme is run, said Paul Williams, Research Director at Seafish. We introduced Concept Evaluation Forms as the first step for recording initial ideas and this has proved very successful. Applicants had to provide a short description of their proposed work, which allowed ideas to be reviewed at an embryonic stage and for an early assessment to be made of an ideas merit and eligibility.

This early involvement of Seafish staff in the whole process has resulted in a very high standard of full proposal forms. We have 89 very high quality applications with requests for funds totalling 3.35 million. We must now begin the difficult task of sifting through these to ascertain which ones will be selected for a share of the 2009 Industry Project Fund, which is valued at nearly 1 million.

The assessment process for round four of IPF funding has already begun with the advisory committees sitting in late January. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their proposals in late March, and any funding awarded will be available from April 2009. Successful applicants will then be contacted by a Seafish Project Manager to progress the project.

Applications that missed the deadline for 2009 funding will automatically be submitted for consideration under round five of the IPF scheme, which has started. The evaluation process starts in June 2009 for funding to commence in April 2010, said Paul.

the Fish Site Editor

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