Ocean Futures

Ocean Futures logo

Ocean Futures in a 10 year investment programme developed by a consortium of industry, research and local government bodies to confirm the South West’s position at the global forefront of ocean technology research and innovation. It creates a blueprint for the region’s future blue economy and identifies the South West’s key strengths in fields including marine autonomy, digital innovation and the development of clean maritime technologies.

The detailed Ocean Futures Prospectus sets out how partners are working together to ensure the South West builds on its impressive maritime heritage, extensive research assets and industrial capability to continue leading the world in the sustainable exploitation of the ocean. It outlines a programme of investment to develop a highly skilled workforce, increase innovation in marine technology businesses, and further expand the region’s R&D infrastructure. It also introduces activity to stimulate exports and generate opportunities for inward investment, all co-designed by industry, research and public sector partners.

Delivery of the plan is overseen by the Ocean Futures Partnership.

Maritime UK South West

Maritime UK South West

Maritime UK South West is a public, business, research partnership which brings together the breadth of our ocean economy, working in partnership to champion, grow and clean the sector.

On 31st Jan 2020 the cluster relaunched as Maritime UK South West, forming an affiliation with Maritime UK and a partnership with Cornwall Marine Network. Cluster websites and print collateral will be updated with our new sponsor and strategic partner logos by April.

The cluster aims to champion and promote our sector, internally, nationally and abroad, drive clean growth and build centres of excellence to maintain regional competitive advantage.

Champion and Promote

  • Create evidence-based strategy, profile and lobbying
  • Promote regional excellence
  • Drive Clean Growth
  • Increase collaboration, investment in R&D and clean growth
  • Increase investment in skills and promote careers in marine and maritime.

Build centres of excellence

  • Building supply chain capability in offshore renewables and bring forward investment in floating offshore wind in the South West.
  • Create a world leading centre for marine autonomy and geospatial data innovation.
  • Drive investment in our sustainable ocean economy

Cluster strengths

  • Marine research
  • Environmental and digital technology
  • Advanced marine engineering
  • Offshore renewables
  • Defence
  • Marine and maritime skills

Key strategic organisations

  • Research: Plymouth University, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Exeter University, UKHO, Met Office, CEFAS, The Marine Biological Association, Bournemouth University.
  • Defence: Babcock, BMT, QinetiQ, Leonardo
  • Autonomy: Thales, Atlas Elektronik, MSubs
  • Offshore Renewables: James Fisher Marine, Keynvor Morlift, Ferritech, Offshore Renewables Catapult
  • Aquaculture: Cornish Seaweed Company, Offshore Shellfish, Applied Genomics, Seafish, ARC Marine, Kingston Maurward College
  • Advanced engineering: Caterpillar, Wartsilla, RNLI, SC Group
  • Luxury yachts: Princess, Sunseeker, Pendennis
  • Maritime/ports: Brittany Ferries, ABP, A&P

Plymouth & South Devon Freeport

Plymouth, South Hams and Devon councils have formed a partnership to deliver the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, a special area where different economic regulations will apply such as enhanced capital allowances, relief from stamp duty and employer national insurance contributions for additional employees. These tax reliefs are designed to encourage the maximum number of businesses to open, expand and invest in the Freeport’s three key sites at South Yard, Langage and Sherford.

The Plymouth and South Devon Freeport is one of eight Freeports planned in England by the Government. It will provide an economic boost to the region, deliver thousands of jobs during its delivery, and encourage millions of pounds of inward investment to Plymouth, South Hams and the wider region.

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Limited, a private company limited by guarantee without share capital, was formed recently and is currently being led by Interim Chair, Adrian Bratt, Executive Director at Princess Yachts.


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    David Ralph

    Chief Executive

    David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

    Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

    David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.