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National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy Launched

3rd July 2017
Marine Minister Michael Creed addressing the fourth Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway last Friday Marine Minister Michael Creed addressing the fourth Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway last Friday

#MarineScience - The new National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021 aims to fulfil the need for a strategic marine research agenda to promote cross-agency collaboration, says Ireland’s Marine Minister.

Michael Creed welcomed the new strategy during SeaFest 2017, Ireland’s national maritime festival, at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit last Friday (30 June) — at which it was announced that Ireland’s ‘blue economy’ is outperforming the general economy, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The strategy was prepared by the Marine Institute on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group, and supports the implementation of Innovation 2020, Ireland’s national Research and Innovation Strategy, which identifies the marine sector as one of eight areas of focus for social progress and the economy. 

“This new strategy follows on from Sea Change, the last national marine research strategy published in 2007, and will help ensure that Ireland maintains its position at the forefront of marine research in Europe,” said Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan.

“This strategy will ensure that the outputs of new research and innovation will support Ireland’s quest to generate real socio-economic benefits by reaching the 2020 target of a €6.4 billion ocean economy in a sustainable manner.”

The strategy provides a framework for research funders to assess the impact and likely return to the State from research investment in marine related research themes. 

It is also designed to ensure that State support of marine research results in Irish researchers being able to compete at an international level and participate fully in transnational research projects.

Preparation of the strategy included a review of national and international marine related strategies and plans, which identified 15 broad research themes such as energy, transport, biodiversity and bioresources. 

Each of these themes were the subject of a detailed review of the research capability in Ireland and the steps required to raise this to meet research requirements of national strategies such as Food Harvest 2025 and the Energy White Paper ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030’.

Welcoming the publication of the strategy on behalf of the board of the Marine Institute, chair John Killeen said: “We look forward to it informing the institute’s own investments, including our plans to co-fund with other Government agencies and departments on projects in a range of marine related research disciplines.”

The launch of the National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021 at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit was accompanied by the publication of New Connections III (2014-2016), which records the success of the Irish marine research community in competitive EU funded programmes such as Horizon 2020, INTERREG-V and ERASMUS+.

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