The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and chair of the inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group, Michael Creed T.D. launched the National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit at NUI Galway. Minister Creed noted that Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan, ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth’, identified the need for a strategic marine research agenda to promote cross agency collaboration. Welcoming the Strategy, Minister Creed said the “Government has endorsed this Statement of Strategy as a framework to assist those government entities participating in the funding of marine related research and innovation and I look forward to receiving updates on its implementation”.
The strategy covers the period 2017 to 2021 and was prepared by the Marine Institute on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group. The strategy also supports the implementation of Innovation 2020, Ireland’s national Research and Innovation Strategy, which identifies Marine as one of eight areas of focus for social progress and the economy. Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said “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”.
“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”, he added
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, the Institute’s Chairman John Killeen said, “the Marine Institute, as the national agency for Marine Research and Development was pleased to coordinate the development of this strategy. 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 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+. This is the third New Connections report produced by the Marine Institute with the previous reports covering the period 2007 -2013).
Source: Marine Institute