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We are open for applications!

The Institute of Aquaculture is open for Transnational Access (TNA) to our aquaculture research infrastructure though the EU funded AQUAEXCEL3 programme. The Institute participated in the first (AQUAEXCEL, 2011-2015) and the second (AQUAEXCEL2020, 2015-2020) of these initiatives to provide access to leading aquaculture research infrastructures. We hosted nine TNA projects in the first AQUAEXCEL programme and ten in the second. Within AQUAEXCEL3 (2020-2025) we expect to host around 14 projects, usually involving one visitor spending an average of 7 weeks at the Institute of Aquaculture. This site provides information for potential and current users of the IoA infrastructure and news about the research that is supported here.

Photograph of experimental tanks in the recirculated aquaculture system at the Buckieburn aquarium
Buckieburn RAS tanks

University of Stirling joins new Infrastructure programme – AQUASERV

After three funding cycles, the AQUAEXCEL programme will come to an end in 2025. However, the good news is that a new even larger programme has been approved which brings AQUAEXCEL together with several other Infrastructure programmes including The European Marine Biological Resource Centre ERIC (EMBRC), the Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems ERIC, the Infrastructure for Promoting Metrology in Food and Nutrition (METROFOOD) as well as the International Council for Exploration of the Seas and the Research Infrastructure for Science and Innovation Policy Studies (RISIS).

Under the new “National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub” at the University of Stirling, we will be making available a range of temperate, tropical, marine and freshwater aquarium facilities. The first call for access is expected in late 2024. Further details are available in the EU Funding & Tenders Portal.

AQUAEXCEL Extended to incorporate new EMBRC Member Infrastructures

The European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) has joined the Transnational Access programme of the AQUAEXCEL3.0 project and is announcing a joint call for access proposals.

In May 2024, EMBRC joined AQUAEXCEL3.0’s Transnational Access (TNA) programme to widen access to aquaculture research facilities in Europe. 40 EMBRC marine stations and institutes from 8 countries will provide additional services to complement AQUAEXCEL3.0’s existing aquaculture services. The additional services provided by EMBRC partners focus on supporting marine biological and ecological research. They include:

  • Facilitating access to marine ecosystems (through coastal research vessels and the collection of organisms from the field)
  • Marine biological resources (from culture collections and biobanks and taxonomy services)
  • Experimental facilities (aquaria, tanks and mesocosms, dry and wet laboratories)
  • Technological platforms (for molecular biology, imaging and structural and chemical analysis).

The joint call launched on Monday 13 May 2024, and researchers are now able to submit project proposals until the project ends in October 2025 or when all the available funding has been allocated, whichever is sooner.

Read the full press release

Further information about AQUAEXCEL Transnational Access

4th Call for Technician Transnational Mobility

Please note this call is limited to technical staff of the AQUAEXCEL Partner Organisations – Deadline 31st May 2024.

To promote capacity building and sharing best practices on how to improve the delivery of research services in an aquaculture research institute, AQUAEXCEL3.0 offers the possibility of a short-term staff exchange in which staff from one partner institute can visit another institute of the consortium. The purpose of the exchange is to learn or share experience and knowledge and to acquire new skills. The program is intended for personnel involved in the provision of services, such as research engineers and technological and technical personnel of any aquaculture institute of the AQUAEXCEL3.0 consortium.
To participate in the program, technicians will need to complete the associated Application Form which should include a mobility plan identifying the objectives, skills and training outcomes to be achieved during the internship.

For further details of the programme and a copy of the application form, please contact your local facility manager (for University of Stirling this is Amaya Albalat)

Technician Mobility: Visit of Vasso Terzoglou

Portrait photo of Vasso Terzoglou

The Institute of Aquaculture facilitated the visit of Research Technician, Vasso Terzoglou, from 20th – 28th November 2023, via the AQUAEXCEL3.0 Technician Transnational Mobility Programme. She works in the Biotechnology and Aquaculture Division at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Heraklion, Crete, and came to the Institute to gain additional experience in Molecular Biology protocols. The visit also provided an opportunity for her to share information about the activities and facilities available at HCMR, with staff and research students at an Institute of Aquaculture weekly seminar. This was a good reminder of the potential opportunities for future collaborations through AQUAEXCEL or other EU programmes.

Vasso Terzoglou talks about her visit in this short video

AQUAEXCEL Consortium Meet in Budapest

The AQUAEXCEL consortium met in Budapest from 16th-18th October 2023. Sonia Rey Planellas, John Bostock and Mauro Chivite Alcalde joined on behalf of the Institute of Aquaculture. The first day included a session run by Sonia and John to discuss issues arising from the recent evaluation of the TNA management system and on the second day there were sessions on collaboration with other intrastructure projects and on the scientific work of AQUAEXCEL including Workpackage 6 “Improvements of fish welfare in experiments and industry” involving Sonia and Mauro. The meeting also included a session on ethics led by Professor Felicity Huntingford. The final day involved a visit to the MATE HAKI research facilities in Szarvas, where we learned more about the pond and RAS experimental facilities available for TNA visitors to that infrastructure.

Welcome Sushee Dunn

A big welcome to Sushee Dunn who has joined us as AQUAEXCEL TNA Operations Officer. Sushee has previously worked on multiple projects in a number of environments including health, construction and manufacturing. Latterly, she was Head of Quality, Research and Standards at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and spent a year as senior manager with NHS England supporting challenged Trusts to use structured judgement review of mortality data for rapid quality improvement. Sushee has a latent interest in marine biology and is looking forward to learning more about aquaculture as she manages the TNA application process for the project.

TNA Visit – New feeding strategies to optimize the egg production and the fry robustness in rainbow trout

In April 2023, Emilie Cardona and Sandra Skiba-Cassy from INRAE (The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment) visited the Institute of Aquaculture to work with Matthew Sprague on the AQUAEXCEL transnational access project “MIRAGE”. The project is concerned with determining the optimal ratio of essential fatty acids (particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) in broodstock rainbow trout in order to increase their robustness, reproductive performance and quality of their eggs. The study is needed as fishmeal and fish oil have become more expensive and are more frequently substituted with plant-based proteins and oils. The experimental work was carried out in the INRAE NuMeA experimental station located in Lees-Athas whilst the associated analytical work was carried out in the Nutrition laboratories of the Institute of Aquaculture. Emilie and Sandra speak more about the project in the following video.

Emilie Cardona and Sandra Skiba-Cassy introduce the MIRAGE project and work at the Institute of Aquaculture.

We are recruiting!

Photograph of keyboard with yellow sticky note with the label "Now Hiring"

June, 2023 – We are currently recruiting for a part-time Operations Officer to administer all AQUAEXCEL Transnational Access project applications. The post provides for flexible working, mainly involving maintaining contact with AQUAEXCEL Transnational Access applicants, reviewers and facility managers to ensure proposals are smoothly administered through the review process. The post also involves supporting the TNA Project Coordinator in preparing routine reports analysing the access that is provided under the project. The closing date for applications is 22nd June. Further details can be found at https://www.stir.ac.uk/about/work-at-stirling/list/details/?jobId=3635&jobTitle=Operations%20Officer%20(Research)

Thank You Kirsten

Kirsten Strachan, who was first recruited to the role of TNA Administrator in 2016 under the AQUAEXCEL2020 programme, retired at the end of April 2023. Colleagues at the Institute and across the AQUEXCEL community expressed their sadness that she was leaving the project, but also their best wishes for many happy years ahead. As the many greetings in her leaving card testified, Kirsten was always cheerful, patient and a great pleasure to work with. She efficiently steered projects through the complexities of the TNA application and review process and supported both applicants and reviewers through the frustrations of their tasks. She will be much missed by all of us, so Thank You Kirsten and Happy Retirement!

Image of leaving card with signed messages