Projects to study the interaction between offshore wind turbines and their natural surroundings have secured a share of €3 million (£2.65m) in North East Scotland.
They will be based at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay and the EU is to provide half of the funding.
The first recipients to be confirmed include The River Dee Trust and Marine Scotland Science, which will assess how salmon and sea trout interact with offshore wind technology.
SMRU Consulting and the University of St Andrews aim to improve understanding of bottlenose dolphin movements along the east coast of Scotland, particularly during the development and initial operations of the EOWDC.
Glasgow firm MacArthur Green plans to study how the populations of auk sea birds in special protection areas are affected by offshore wind farms and will also track the non-breeding season movements of the species.
Oxford Brookes University will study the socio-economic impact of offshore wind on the human environment and help better understand how the benefit of these developments to the region and local communities can be maximised.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “The research will strengthen our scientific understanding of the potential environmental impacts of offshore wind generation and their socio-economic impacts too.
“It is very positive news that three of the four successful project bids were from Scottish organisations, which underlines Scotland’s expertise in providing robust science which can protect and enhance the biodiversity of our seas and also aid our understanding of offshore wind projects on communities and our economy.”