The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has hired Sarah Riddle as its new director of business engagement to help drive innovation and support overall growth across the sector.
Sarah brings more than 17 years’ experience to the role, having previously held senior positions with major seafood producers including UK sales manager at Scottish Sea Farms, and commercial director at Aquascot. In her work with Northern Light Consulting - which will continue alongside the new role with SAIC - Sarah has provided strategic support for organisations such as the Scottish Association of Marine Science, and has helped many businesses to secure funding and deliver innovation, research and development projects in the aquaculture sector.
As director of business engagement, Sarah will help to address some of aquaculture’s biggest challenges by developing relationships in the sector and exploring opportunities for future innovation projects, which connect industry with academia.
Drawing on an extensive network of contacts, from farmers and processers to retailers and regulators, Sarah will lead a programme of engagement to support the innovation centre’s £10 million Phase II strategy. While SAIC’s plans for the next five years include a significant focus on engaging with SMEs to drive innovation, the organisation is also prioritising initiatives to support the Scottish aquaculture sector through the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sarah Riddle said: “I have worked in the industry for a number of years, and live in the Highlands with fish production on my doorstep, so this is a sector that I am truly fascinated by.
Aquaculture offers fantastic opportunities for Scotland, and education and collaboration undoubtedly play a key role in its growth.
“Compared to other means of food production, aquaculture may still be in its infancy, but it has the power to feed the world. As with any farming operation, however, sustainability is paramount, and I’m excited to support innovative developments that can help to future-proof the sector.”
Heather Jones, CEO of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, added: “As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the role, Sarah has built meaningful relationships with key players in the sector, which will be invaluable in encouraging collaboration and innovation. Sarah will play a crucial role in delivering our Phase II programme, engaging with the aquaculture community and ultimately raising awareness of the important benefits the innovation centre brings to the sector.”