The A3 Scotland 2022 conference took place in Edinburgh recently, bringing together key stakeholders across the Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture sectors in the transition to net-zero.

After being cancelled for two consecutive years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 150 delegates connected in-person at the event which included an impressive conference programme.

A Gold Sponsor of A3 Scotland,, EIT Food North-West region (UK, Ireland and Iceland) provided both support and participation to raise awareness of its sustainable aquaculture project portfolio. EIT Food Partners from Scotland, Iceland and Norway presented their activities to drive aquaculture into a sustainable and efficient form of food production.

During the conference, stakeholders with backgrounds in industry, academia and research joined together to encourage innovation, investment and collaboration in the triple-A sector of Animal Health, AgriTech and Aquaculture. The overall theme of the event was the transition to net zero emissions, with each sector having its own challenges and opportunities to address environmental sustainability in the coming years.

Although the three sectors are independent, A3 Scotland encouraged delegates to consider how the sectors are interconnected. For example, each sector plays an important role in producing healthy and sustainable food for a growing population which is under environmental pressures. Not only that, but agriculture and aquaculture are often viewed separately as the green economy and blue economy, yet both forms of food production share similarities.

“A3 provided the perfect environment to showcase the connection between the green and blue economy and clearly established that one cannot live without the other towards our ultimate goal of sustainability and food security.”

Mercedes Groba, Innovation Programme Manager, EIT Food

The triple-A sectors each contribute to carbon emissions and waste. However, A3 Scotland 2022 encouraged delegates to be inspired by the opportunities across the three sectors to improve their environmental impacts, while also celebrating progress made so far.

All three sectors can leverage rapid technological development to improve both their efficiency and environmental impact, contributing to food security and environmental preservation. Scotland is in a unique position because its highly developed animal health, agritech and aquaculture sectors can cooperate to tackle their shared challenges and goals.

A3 Scotland provided the platform to showcase the innovations and build the connections necessary to drive this forward and encourage knowledge exchange across the UK and Europe, as well as each individual sector was a key theme at the event.

“Knowledge exchange like this is invaluable, not just within aquaculture but right across the blue and green economy. A3 Scotland shone a spotlight on net zero and sustainable food production, which provided the perfect stage for us to present and discuss impactful, practical and outcome-focused projects.”

Sarah Riddle, Director of Innovation and Engagement, Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC)

EIT Food North-West hosted a session during the event, to inspire innovation and collaboration in European aquaculture. The session included presentations from EIT Food Partners Aqua-Pharma Group and Matis, followed with a panel session hosted by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre.

The Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) is an innovation centre driven to transform aquaculture by unlocking sustainable growth through innovation excellence. Sarah Riddle, Director of Innovation & Engagement at SAIC, hosted a panel to explore how aquaculture sustainability goes beyond protecting the planet.

Rachel Brown, Global Innovation Manager at Aqua Pharma Group – a Norwegian aquaculture company- presented the EIT Food BREEZE project. This project is developing new approaches and effective methods to improve the management of sea lice for salmon farming. The project consortium includes Pulcea, the University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture, SAIC and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Birgir Örn Smárason, Research Group Leader in Aquaculture at Matís- an Icelandic R&D organisation- presented their EIT Food aquaculture project portfolio, including the Nordic Cereals project, (valorisation of cereal side streams for feed production), the SEAFEED project (fermented seaweed based novel feed additives) and the Metamorphosis project (enhanced insect protein for aquaculture).

EIT Food North-West’s Director Jayne Brookman explained how EIT Food’s pan-European network enables cross-border collaboration between countries and stakeholders involved in the agrifood sector. The uniqueness of the EIT Food community is that it brings together key players from farm-to-fork to build a healthy and sustainable food system for all.

During her presentation, EIT Food’s Mercedes Groba explained how EIT Food North-West is uniquely positioned as a bridge to food systems collaboration between UK and Europe, to facilitate new connections and partnerships.

A3 Scotland encouraged new partnerships to be formed to make progress in the triple-A sectors.

“How many people at the A3 conference were enthusiastic about sustainable aquaculture, and more specifically, sustainable and alternative feed ingredients which I focused on in my talk. I managed to learn a lot from the conference and made some new friends and contacts for future collaboration in sustainable aquaculture.”

Birgir Örn Smárason, Research Group Leader in Aquaculture, Matís

Outside of the conference, exciting activities took place to enable attendees to have a greater understanding of Scotland’s animal health, agritech and aquaculture. The event organisers facilitated trips to Oban and the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus so that attendees could explore facilities and farms in person, to be inspired to want to work alongside stakeholders in Scotland to innovate the triple-A sectors.

Rachel Brown, Global Innovation Manager at Aqua Pharma Group and Ian Armstong, Managing Director of Pulcea, summarise the event:

“A3 Scotland surpassed our expectations in so many ways. The standard of content was impressive, and the networking opportunities provided outcomes only possible thanks to the event’s diversity. We’re really looking forward to the next one!”

EIT Food is committed to driving aquaculture into a sustainable form of food production. Importantly, the sector has opportunities to achieve several UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more about EIT Food and explore EIT Food’s North West region

A3 Scotland 2022 thanks EIT Food for their support and contribution with the inaugural not-for-profit conference and in the publication of this article following the conference.

Find out more about A3 Scotland 2022