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Importance Of ‘Blue Economy’ Skills Highlighted At Cullen Fellowship Meeting

28th November 2018
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James Fahy (UCD), Martina Maloney (Marine Institute) and Philip Stephens (NUIG) at the Cullen Fellowship Programme event in Oranmore last week James Fahy (UCD), Martina Maloney (Marine Institute) and Philip Stephens (NUIG) at the Cullen Fellowship Programme event in Oranmore last week

Nineteen postgraduates presented their marine research highlighting the innovation and contributions being made towards the growth of the marine sector in Ireland at the Cullen Fellowship Programme’s two-day annual meeting last week.

Dr Peter Heffernan, chief executive of the Marine Institute which hosted the meeting in Oranmore, had particular praise for Philip Stephens of NUI Galway and James Fahy of University College Dublin, who recently completed their respective Master’s degrees in Science.

“The graduates and other Fellows’ high level of accomplishments are welcomed in Ireland, particularly when the ocean sector is one of the fastest areas of economic growth, outpacing progress in the general economy in recent years,” Dr Heffernan said.

The Cullen Fellowship Programme has provided grant aid to the value of €1.9 million supporting 24 PhD and three Master’s students in their research over the last four years.

This has involved 15 research themes identified in the National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021, ranging from marine technology and fisheries management to oceanographic research, aquaculture, fish health, food safety, seabed mapping, marine technology, shipping and maritime transport, marine environment, marine economics, law and policy, education and outreach.

“We are extremely pleased with the high calibre of skilled marine researchers that have been involved with the Cullen Fellowship in recent years,” said Martina Maloney of the Marine Institute’s research funding office.

“The opportunities that the students have gained has helped further support the Government’s national Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth strategy in developing a thriving maritime economy, building healthy marine ecosystems and creating engagement with the sea.”

The growth of Ireland’s ocean economy in 2017 had a direct impact of €5.5bn turnover employing over 32,000 people. The Government investment in the ocean economy is on track to double the value of Our Ocean Wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030.

“We are reliant on the ocean for its food through fisheries and aquaculture, ocean transport involving shipping and tourism as well as the societal impact the ocean provides us,” Dr Heffernan said.

“Therefore, with the trend in changing economies, new forms of energy, transport and food production transforming industries, companies and jobs in the near future, it is important that we continue to invest in third level research for our next generation of marine scientists and researchers.”

The Marine Institute set up the Cullen Fellowship programme in 2014 in memory of Anne Cullen (1958-2013), who had made a significant contribution to the work of the Marine Institute over 35 years, inspiring many students through the Institute's bursary programme, encouraging students to get hands-on experience to support their study.

The Cullen Fellowships are carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Government.

Cullen Fellowship opportunities will be advertised as they arise on www.marine.ie under ‘Research and Funding – Current Funding Opportunities’ and through various social media channels.

Published in Marine Science
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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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