The Marine Institute recently welcomed the Ambassador of France in Ireland, Stephane Crouzat, and Attaché for Science and Technology Marc Daumas to its headquarters in Oranmore.
The French delegation received a tour of the Marine Institute facility, and met with staff to gain an insight into the work of the institute and collaborations with French organisations.
Welcoming the delegation to the Marine Institute, Dr Paul Connolly, director of fisheries and advisory services, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and discuss our recent work and research with the ambassador.
“Our collaborations with French scientists and the French institute Ifremer and important relationships which also increase our research capacity.”
The ambassador was greeted by Dr Connolly and Thomas Furey of the INFOMAR programme, and introduced to the broad work of the institute using the various displays in the reception area.
Dr Connolly outlined the work of the institute’s marine science research vessels, and the design for a new state-of-the-art marine research vessel for Ireland which is now under way.
The ambassador also viewed a series of artworks and watercolour illustrations produced as part of BlueFish marine science project, which links art and science to demystify the concept of climate change in coastal communities.
Furey demonstrated how the INFOMAR Augmented Reality Sandbox is used to explain the concept of seabed mapping to children and adults at public events.
Experts from the Marine Institute shared their involvement in recent research and projects through a number of presentations.
Jennifer Doyle explained how underwater TV surveys assess nephrops stocks and how the Marine Institute has transferred this technology to the Bay of Biscay, by working closely with the French Institute Ifremer.
Furey discussed INFOMAR’s work and links with several French organisations, Guillaume Ball outlined his current research on tuna, and Yves Reecht explained how mobile phone technology was being used to build a system to map the fishing activity of small inshore vessels.
Aodhán Fitzgerald provided an overview on the Marine Institute’s role as co-ordinators of EuroFleetsPlus, a project which will access to an advanced research fleet and involve a number of French partners.
Dr Margaret Rae also presented the work undertaken by the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) as part of the transatlantic alliance between the USA, Canada and the European Union.
The French delegation also received an overview of Ireland’s Integrated marine plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, and the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services.
A key building block in developing the institute’s digital capability as part of this strategic plan was achieved last month when it became one of the first 10 national data centres worldwide to receive the international accreditation of its Data Management Quality Management Framework by the (UNESCO) International Oceanographic Commission's IODE programme.
The IODE (International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange) programme designates national oceanographic data centres and has a central co-ordinating role internationally.
New digital capabilities are critical to integrated marine service delivery including areas such as oceanographic services, food safety, fisheries and marine management programmes, the institute says, adding that the IODE accreditation “will underpin the quality of these services and underlines the Marine Institute's commitment to high-quality services”.
These services include the institute’s Digital Ocean programme which is developing new digital capabilities in data management, integration, analytics and modelling to contribute to making high-quality marine data and information more readily available to support service delivery to Government, the national marine research and innovation community, the public and to facilitate international collaboration.