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Tall Ships

University to launch its new marine research centre at Tall Ships

Published on: 23 August 2016

Newcastle University is expanding its world-renowned Marine Science and Technology School with a new research centre being unveiled in Blyth during the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta.

The University is supporting the Tall Ships to showcase its investment in a Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials which will include teaching rooms, workshops and an aquarium and will join the University’s Research Vessel – the Princess Royal – in forming a major new research presence in Blyth.

The University is backing the event which will welcome a fleet of up to 30 Tall Ships into Blyth over the August bank holiday weekend.

To celebrate, the School of Marine Science and Technology, is hosting an exhibition during the event at their base within the Port of Blyth, which will be open to the public.

The exhibition offers the opportunity for visitors to hear about the University’s research topics including their ‘Capturing our Coast’ project which aims to find out more about the species that live in our seas and how we can protect them.

A human-powered submarine, a robotic platform called a ‘wave glider’, and hands-on displays including a tank containing North Sea marine life living offshore from Blyth, will also be available to explore.

The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta is expected to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to the maritime celebration to enjoy nightly fireworks, live music, street theatre and grand parades.

Exciting time for Blyth and Newcastle University

Professor Andrew Willmott, Head of the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta at a very exciting time for both Blyth and Newcastle University.

“We’re investing £1.5m into creating a Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials which will support major research projects in Blyth and it’s great to have the opportunity to showcase some of our exciting projects coming to the town and the wider region.”

The exhibition will be hosted in the Port of Blyth, in a new building constructed to house the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel used to test prototype propeller and tidal turbine designs. The unique facility is one of only two in the UK and is being refurbished and will be re-installed in Blyth later this year.

The Great North Sea Science and Technology Exhibition will be open to the public on 26 - 28 August between 12pm and 7pm at Beach Phase 2 at the Port of Blyth. Children can enjoy hands on experiences with the ‘touch tanks’ between 1pm and 2pm.

'Fantastic research'

Councillor Val Tyler, cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, “It’s great to have Newcastle University as one of our sponsors for the Tall Ships weekend.

“Blyth is going to be alive with activity this bank holiday and the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors to see some of the fantastic research taking place at Blyth and our coastlines.”

Northumberland County Council, in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International, is hosting the prestigious Regatta which will be one of the largest events ever held in the county and the only Regatta in the UK this year. Fergusons of Blyth, one of the UK’s leading privately owned haulage companies and the biggest in the North East, has been confirmed as the Principal Sponsor for the event in celebration of their 90th Anniversary.

For more information about the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016, visit: For further information on Sail Training International, visit:

Dr Heather Sugden, Newcastle University. Pictured on Cullercoats beach with a Common Sunstar starfish

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