#SeaChange - The Marine Institute yesterday (Thursday 30 June) hosted a number of research projects highlighting important achievements made by the Government's investment in the Sea Change strategy to build capacity, support innovation and ensure the quality of our marine environment.
"Funded research across all areas, from fisheries and aquaculture to marine environment and seafood health, demonstrates the government's commitment to developing Ireland's blue economy while also valuing the quality of our marine environment," said Ciarán Kelly, R&D manager at the Marine Institute, at the Sea Change Researchers Workshop to coincide with SeaFest 2016 and the Our Ocean Wealth Conference.
"This Sea Change research provides vital keys to unlocking our blue economy potential, while ensuring the quality and sustainability of the marine environment."
Over the last six years there has been an investment of more than €60 million in research supported by the framework strategy A Marine Knowledge: Research and Innovation Strategy 2007-2013.
This investment has funded hundreds of projects, study programmes and research scholarships for the marine sector.
Among the projects presented at the Marine Institute yesterday were an ecosystem approach to the management of fishery resources and the detection and testing of shellfish for toxicity azasparicids.
Research on ocean acidification and the genetics of wild salmon populations represent important research funded though the Sea Change programme.
A visual display of Sea Change projects showcased the variety and scale of projects funded, and a number of the Sea Change projects were recognised by the Beaufort Marine Awards held yesterday evening.
"The Sea Change research strategy also outlined the importance of developing skills and research capacity in the marine sector, and to this end, a number of research doctorates, scholarships and education programmes were also funded," said Dr Kelly.
Investment has significantly improved marine research capacity in Ireland, according to the co-ordinators of the Sea Change programme, who say it has strengthened Ireland's competitiveness in marine research and innovation and has supported the sustainability of the marine sector by developing greater alignment between the needs of industry and the research capacity of the public sector and third level.
A new National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy is being developed which will map the current state of research and innovation underpinning Ireland's blue growth potential.
This new strategy, to be published later in 2016, will identify the maturity and capacity of research areas and will be an aid to help focus future investment.