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New Funding Opportunities For Marine Biodiscovery Research

25th January 2016

#MarineScience - Researchers from third-level Institutes and industry attended an information session at the Marine Institute in Oranmore on Friday 22 January, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, to learn about the funding opportunities for marine biodiscovery research and to get tips and advice on formulating proposals for research projects.

Marine biodiscovery looks to the huge diversity of organisms in the marine environment for bioactive compounds that could form the basis of new materials and or process. As the Marine Institute explains, it’s essentially taking inspiration from nature to provide the building blocks for new products or processes.

By exploring the bioactivity in organisms from the ocean; including from fishery and aquaculture activity, or materials which result from the processing of marine organisms, there is potential to identify new compounds that can meet the needs of society.

Among the many known uses for marine origin bioactive materials, are components in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and ingredients, nutritional supplements, cosmeceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products, horticultural stimulants, animal feed, biomaterials, and as a source of enzymes with potential in bioremediation and bioprocessing.

ERA-MBT member Dr Dermot Hurst gave information and advice on current funding opportunities within the Marine Biotechnology ERA- NET framework. Among the tips for researchers were to refer to relevant national policy documents, such as Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.

He also recommended the European Marine Board position paper on marine biotechnology – Marine Biotechnology: a Vision and Strategy for Europe – as an essential reference, in particular the ‘marine biotech toolkit’.

Researchers are invited to apply for funding for transnational joint research projects under the topic 'Bioactive molecules from the marine environment – Biodiscovery' within the Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET framework. The closing date for proposals is 3pm CET on 16 March 2016.

This is the second transnational call under the programme and focuses on the identification of bioactive compounds and other useful properties that offer commercial potential. Proposals can be submitted through the ERA-MBT online submission system.

Applicants are asked to focus their research on biological materials obtained from one or more of the following sources: culture collections, biobanks and repositories that are held within institutions/companies; from fishery or aquaculture activity; marine biomass processing by-products and waste fractions; and biological materials collected from the foreshore (coastal areas between the limits of low and high water.

The Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET (ERA-MBT) is a consortium of national funding agencies working to promote complementary research activity between national organisations by pooling resources to provide joint funding for transnational projects in Marine Biotechnology. The aim is to support the development of the European bioeconomy.

For further information visit the ERA-MBT website or contact the Marine Institute’s funding office at [email protected] or 091 387 200.

Published in Marine Science
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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