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Irish Marine Science Chief Appointed to European Research Board

14th November 2012
Irish Marine Science Chief Appointed to European Research Board

#marinescience – Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, has been appointed to the European Research and Innovation Area Board (ERIAB) by European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. The 11 member board advises the Commissioner on issues relating to the development of the European Research Area, including the €80 billion Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020). Members of the ERIAB are appointed for a four year term and the mandate of current ERIAB extends to February 2016.

"I look forward to working with Dr. Peter Heffernan as a member of the European Research and Innovation Area Board, ERIAB," said Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn. "In the coming years, ERIAB will play a vital role in the development and optimisation of the European Research Area. Members of ERIAB are highly respected scientific and policy advisors who will draw on their extensive experience at national and international level, and I am delighted to have an Irish member of Peter's calibre on board".

The Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny, TD said the appointment represented an important recognition not only of Dr Heffernan's own contribution but also of the work of the Marine Institute over the years.  "Ireland and Europe share many objectives in supporting sustainable ocean economic activities as an important engine of growth in our recovery. I have no doubt that Peter's contribution to ERIAB will be very beneficial in this regard".

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton, TD, congratulated Dr Heffernan on his appointment which he said not only reflected Dr Heffernan's standing in the European research community, but also that of Irish science, technology and innovation.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, joined in congratulating Dr Heffernan, and noted that this appointment also acknowledged the importance of marine science, technology and innovation for the European Research Area, a topic Dr Heffernan has championed both in Ireland and in Europe.

The ERIAB plays a key role in developing, promoting and evaluating EU research, development and innovation policy initiatives and actions, including the further development of the European Research Area (ERA), the implementation of the proposed €80 billion Horizon 2020 Programme (2014-2020) and the Europe 2020 and Innovation Union Strategies. Europe 2020 is a 10-year strategy aimed at reviving the economy of the European Union through "smart, sustainable, inclusive growth, with high levels of employment and living standards".

In July 2012, the Irish Government, through the interdepartmental Marine Co-ordination Group, launched Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland, setting out a roadmap to harness the potential of Ireland's marine resource. This plan, part of the marine sectors contribution to the Europe 2020 Strategy, will contribute to the development of the Action Plan of the European Union Strategy for the Atlantic (EUSA) which will have a major bearing and influence on the topics to be supported by EU Structural, Regional, Research and Environment Funds between 2014 and 2020.

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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