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National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy Launched

3rd July 2017
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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+.

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)

At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

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