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Displaying items by tag: Dr Peter Heffernan

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has paid tribute to outgoing Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan for the “phenomenal impact” he has had on Irish and international scientific research writes Lorna Siggins.

Dr Heffernan has been a “trailblazer, demanding political attention”, ensuring Ireland’s reputation as a global leader in the “international marine space”, Mr Coveney said.

Dr Heffernan, who is retiring after almost 27 years in the post, says that Ireland can play a key role in international monitoring of ocean health and impacts of climate change.

Speaking by video at an event in the Marine Institute’s headquarters in Galway on Wednesday, Mr Coveney said that he shared Dr Heffernan’s “passion for the sea and all things marine”.

“As minister for marine, planning and now foreign affairs, I can say that without Peter we wouldn’t have a Marine Institute,” Mr Coveney said.

He recalled how his father, the late Hugh Coveney, had spoken about Peter Heffernan during his own time as marine minister, and how he had also then experienced the scientist’s “extraordinary energy, drive and ambition”.

"Without Peter, we wouldn’t have a Marine Institute”

US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist Craig McLean and Minister for Marine Michael Creed also paid tribute to Dr Heffernan, while European Commission senior official John Bell highlighted his role in creating the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Initiated in 2013, the alliance commits North America, Canada and the EU to a shared vision of the Atlantic as “healthy, resilient, safe, productive, understood and treasured”.

Under Dr Heffernan’s tenure, the Marine Institute established a headquarters in Galway and developed a marine research fleet – with plans to purchase a new 50m ship to replace the 31m Celtic Voyager.

Dr Heffernan said the changing climate’s impact on the oceans is now the “greatest global challenge”, which Ireland is well placed to monitor – with significant investment in monitoring technology, including the weather buoy network and gliders,

Dr Paul Connolly, who succeeds Dr Peter Heffernan, is a former president of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).

Up until recently, he was the director of the Marine Institute’s Fisheries and Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS) team, providing scientific advice on the sustainable exploitation of Ireland’s fisheries resource and marine ecosystems.

Marine Institute chairman Dr John Killeen said that Dr Connolly “brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, and will be dedicated to positioning the institute as a global leader in ocean knowledge, and empowering Ireland to harness our marine resource”.

Dr Killeen said that Dr Heffernan had “played a fundamental role in developing Ireland’s ocean research capacity”, and “driving collaboration in marine research and innovation in Europe and internationally”.

Dr Heffernan has been selected as a member of the European Commission’s mission board for Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters.

The board is one of five major research missions of Horizon Europe, the EU Research and Innovation programme (2021 – 2027), and Dr Heffernan is one of two Irish appointees.

Published in Marine Science

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan has been selected as a member of the European Commission’s Mission Board for Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters.

He is one of two Irish appointees to the Mission Boards of Horizon Europe, the EU Research and Innovation programme (2021 – 2027).

And he joins 14 other experts on his Mission Board which will identify the first possible specific missions on healthy oceans by the end of 2019.

Dr Heffernan has served as CEO of the Marine Institute since its formation in 1993, and will retire from this role in October this year. The Marine Institute is currently recruiting for his successor, with the deadline for applications at close of business next Tuesday 6 August.

Welcoming the announcement of Dr Heffernan’s new appointment, Marine Institute chairman Dr John Killeen said he “has played a fundamental role in developing Ireland’s ocean research capacity, and for driving collaboration in marine research and innovation in Europe and internationally.

“I congratulate Peter on his appointment, which reflects his strong standing in the European research community.”

Over 2,100 individuals from across the EU and beyond applied to become a member of a Mission Board. Dr Heffernan previously served on the EU’s Research and Innovation Area Board (ERIAB) from 2012 to 2016.

Published in Marine Science
The Marine Institute has issued a statement congratulating Mr Simon Coveney TD on his new appointment as the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food today (11th March 2011), during his visit on board the RV Celtic Explorer in Cork, after its return from the mission to the Labrador and Newfoundland Seas.

Seeing the capabilities of Ireland's largest research vessel and the work of the Marine Institute, Mr Simon Coveney highlighted the importance the Marine Sector has on the Irish economy. "The seas and ocean that surround the land of Ireland is arguably one of our countries greatest natural resources. Through marine research, development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong reputation as an emerging centre of excellence, where we have prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies," he said.

Ireland's national research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager will record 627 days at sea between the two during 2011. Their work will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submersible ROV Holland 1.

"The work conducted on the vessels continues to feed into the success in attracting EU funding to Ireland's marine science programmes that have been achieved by our strategic approach to marine science planning" explained Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

"The award of funding projects shows that partnerships between academics and small businesses can yield significant dividends in creating jobs, generating economic revenue and the supply of raw materials for new industries ranging from ocean energy and environmental monitoring technologies to marine-inspired pharmaceuticals and food ingredients" he further said.

Published in Marine Science

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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