"We aim to consult widely on potential locations and on other facilities that would benefit wave and tidal developers in the future," said EMEC managing director Neil Kermode.
Funding worth £8 million from the UK Government's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), will support the creation of four nursery sites, two for tidal and two for wave energy machines.
These will allow developers to trial smaller scale marine energy devices - as well as full size prototypes - in less challenging sea conditions than those experienced at EMEC's main test sites.
EMEC's two main sites are the world's first at-sea grid-connected test facilities for machines that can harvest the power of waves and tidal currents.
Pelamis, the first wave energy device to generate electricity for the National Grid at EMEC, initially underwent sea trials in the Firth of Forth as a seventh-scale prototype.
Stromness-based Scotrenewables (Marine Power) is currently testing a fifth-scale tidal turbine and sees this as an important way to develop the technology before commissioning a full size tidal power machine.
Irish company OpenHydro is testing its prototype turbine at EMEC's main tidal test site and has just delivered a 1 MW machine for installation at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.
"We’re seeing a scaling up in the technologies as they move from the prototype stage into the commercial market place," says Kermode.
The DECC funding will also allow the installation of three new grid-connected berths, two at the main tidal power test site and another at the main wave energy test site.