New Irish marine initiatives launched –

New Irish marine initiatives launched Published:  16 February, 2007

IRISH Marine Minister Noel Dempsey today visited Marine Institute Headquarters in Oranmore, Co. Galway and launched two new major initiatives for the Irish marine sector.

These are a €365 million national marine research and innovation strategy entitled Sea Change and a new award scheme to support marine research in third level education institutes as well as a prestigious international prize for world-class marine research.

Speaking at the Marine Institute Headquarters Mr Dempsey outlined the importance of the new research strategy; “This Government is committed to the marine sector

and to the people who earn a living from the sea. Sea Change is an exciting, innovative and integrated research programme to deliver high-growth, high value-added industries and ultimately jobs. It will lead to a 50% increase in the sector’s turnover, by driving the development of the marine sector as a dynamic element of Ireland’s knowledge economy from 2007 until 2013.”

The new awards scheme announced today, based on the principles of the highly successful Charles Parsons energy research awards, are designed to support marine research activities in third level educational institutes. The awards are aimed at attracting researchers of international standing to the Irish marine research community at the principal investigator and researcher level and offer the security of a seven-year contract in each case.

A total investment of €20 million over seven years will be provided. The positions will be actively promoted throughout the world in order to attract the best

internationally available talent to Irish marine research.

The Minister also announced the inauguration of a highly prestigious prize to be awarded to a world class marine research scientist, Irish or international who is active in research collaboration with Ireland.

“I want the Irish marine industry to be the pride of Europe. I want every Member State involved in marine emulating our success. My vision is for increased job opportunities and new markets for all those working in the industry. Investing in marine research capacity is a logical and necessary step, in order to ensure a sound knowledge-based support to this marine development,” he said.

Three major marine projects, funded under the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) were also announced today. These projects will focus on marine functional foods, marine environment and climate change, and integrated marine exploration.

“The new schemes announced today along with the €600 million investment pledged under the Cawley Report are tangible evidence of the genuine commitment this Government has to the future development of Ireland’s Ocean Economy. I want the Irish marine industry to become a sustainable and profitable one and the measures put in place here today will allow the Irish marine sector to transform itself over the next seven years to achieve this,” concluded the Minister.