University to unveil new research centre at Regatta

Dr Heather Sugden, of Newcastle University's Dove Marine Laboratory at Cullercoats. Picture by Mike Urwin.
Dr Heather Sugden, of Newcastle University's Dove Marine Laboratory at Cullercoats. Picture by Mike Urwin.

A new research centre is being unveiled in Blyth during the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta.

Newcastle University has announced plans to expand its world-renowned Marine Science and Technology School.

The University is supporting the Tall Ships to showcase its investment in a Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials which will include teaching rooms, workshops and an aquarium and will join the University’s Research Vessel – the Princess Royal – in forming a major new research presence in Blyth.

The University is backing the event which will welcome a fleet of up to 30 Tall Ships into Blyth this weekend.

To celebrate, the School of Marine Science and Technology, is hosting an exhibition during the event at their base within the Port of Blyth, which will be open to the public.

The exhibition offers the opportunity for visitors to hear about the University’s research topics including their ‘Capturing our Coast’ project which aims to find out more about the species that live in our seas and how we can protect them.

“A wave and solar powered ocean robot, a robotic platform called a Wave Glider, and hands-on displays including a tank containing North Sea marine life living offshore from Blyth, will also be available to explore.

The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta is expected to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to the maritime celebration to enjoy nightly fireworks, live music, street theatre and grand parades.

Professor Andrew Willmott, head of the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta at a very exciting time for both Blyth and Newcastle University.

“We’re investing £1.5m into creating a Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials which will support major research projects in Blyth and it’s great to have the opportunity to showcase some of our exciting projects coming to the town and the wider region.”

The exhibition will be hosted in the Port of Blyth, in a new building constructed to house the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel used to test prototype propeller and tidal turbine designs. The unique facility is one of only two in the UK and is being refurbished and will be re-installed in Blyth later this year.

The Great North Sea Science and Technology Exhibition will be open to the public from August 26 to 28 between noon and 7pm at Beach Phase 2 at the Port of Blyth. Children can enjoy hands on experiences with the ‘touch tanks’ between 1pm and 2pm.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, “It’s great to have Newcastle University as one of our sponsors for the Tall Ships weekend.

“Blyth is going to be alive with activity this bank holiday and the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors to see some of the fantastic research taking place at Blyth and our coastlines.”