Marine scientists striving to safeguard the fish farming industry will learn tonight (Thursday) whether vaccine methods they have developed to fend off diseases in farmed haddock lands them a top award.
The scientists at the University of Aberdeen joined forces with Ardtoe Marine Laboratory on the research which was under the auspices of a Government funded scheme called a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project.
KTPs provide companies with access to expertise within research institutions to work collaboratively on strategic business development programmes.
Dr Yolanda Corripio-Miyar, who works in the University's Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre, spent three years working with Ardtoe on the project, which involved studying the immune systems of haddock and cod. Prior to this project, no studies of this kind have been carried out into the immune system of haddock, which is a relatively new species to the fish farming industry.
Tonight the team will discover whether they have been selected as the best Scottish partnership for 2007. Just 10 KTPs – out of scores of partnerships across Scotland that were completed between January 2005 and March this year – have been nominated for the KTP Scottish Award Ceremony which is taking place at Dunblane Hydro.
Dr Corripio-Miyar said: "We are all really excited at having been nominated for the best Scottish KTP partnership, as it highlights the potential for a successful collaboration between the scientific research we carry out at the University and the industry."
Professor Chris Secombes, Head of the University's School of Biological Sciences, supervised the project, along with Dr Jim Treasurer, Research Manager of Ardtoe Marine Laboratory, which is based in Ardnamurchan.
Professor Secombes said: "I am delighted that our project has been nominated for the best Scottish partnership of 2007. Our work has the potential to help production of a fish species newly introduced to Scotland's aquaculture industry."
Dr Treasurer added: "I am delighted with the outcome of the partnership with the University of Aberdeen in transferring the knowledge and expertise in fish immunology and vaccine development to the marine farming sector in Scotland.
"The aquaculture industry in Scotland has to diversify into cod and haddock culture, particularly given the threat to wild fish stocks, and an essential tool is the development of fish vaccines to ensure good health of the fish and to obviate the need for medicines."