Electronics and Subsea industries partner on strategy to create new opportunities to advance UK technology

Posted on 13 Apr 2021 by Tom Lane

A new partnership between the subsea and electronics industries in the UK aims to unlock untapped potential for companies in both sectors that will develop advanced underwater technology, helping to increase exports and create new jobs.

Subsea UK and TechWorks have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to align their strategies and connect their supply chains. Through a shared understanding of what each industry can bring to the other, the organisations will foster collaboration that will result in new and advanced underwater technological solutions.

Described as NASA but on the seabed, the underwater engineering industry, represented by Subsea UK, uses technology and services to unlock energy resources in oil and gas and offshore wind production. The world-leading industry, which has annual revenues of almost £8bn and supports 45,000 jobs, is extending into emerging sectors such as marine renewables and aquaculture.

TechWorks, a new type of industry association, is at the core of the UK deep tech sector which creates business communities to empower innovation and collaboration under five areas of interest: Automotive Electronics, the Internet of Things, Electronics Manufacturing Industry, Power Electronics and Electronic Systems.

The MOU is a result of both organisations recognising they were facing similar challenges. Both are high-value, fast-growing, stand-alone industries which support thousands of UK jobs and work across a range of sectors providing often “hidden”, yet critical, technological solutions.

Under the agreement, Subsea UK and TechWorks will co-ordinate a range of initiatives to explore and encourage potential areas for collaboration among their supply chains to help their members strategically leverage technologies and opportunities that lead to high value growth.

Skills Gap - Production Line Stock UK Electronics Sector - image courtesy of Depositphotos
Production Line Stock UK Electronics Sector – image courtesy of Depositphotos

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, said: “The electronics industry, like the subsea industry, is often hidden from view. For example, the electronic systems in a car or the subsea infrastructure on the seabed, are largely unseen but critical to the functioning of a vehicle or the production of energy offshore.

“It quickly became apparent that we could work collaboratively to help the supply chain grow, enhancing UK capabilities in both industries and, through a joined-up supply chain strategy have more impact and more meaningful engagement with government.

“The technologies being developed by the electronics industry in, for example, electric vehicles drive systems, battery storage and navigation are very relevant in the advancement of underwater robotics and underwater artificial intelligence. In essence, working together, we can learn from and collaborate with the electronics industry to develop new advanced technologies for underwater operations.”

Alan Banks, chief executive of TechWorks, said: “The Deep Tech industries in the UK are going through unprecedented change and the best way to overcome the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities we face is by joining forces with likeminded organisations.

“Subsea UK is a wonderful example of where the likeminded thinking and collaborative spirit will make us stronger as we work together to forge stronger links between our sectors. There are many examples of where the technologies being developed and the scientific, engineering and design thinking challenges being overcome in the UK are applicable in both of our sectors”.