Marine Institute

International Activity

A New Age of International and Regional Cooperation (2014-2020)


Following the success of Irish participation in EU marine projects over the period 2007-2013 (see below), and guided by the new national Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland (Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, 2012), Ireland played a key role in supporting and promoting the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (2008), its sea-basin strategies, the EU Strategy for the Atlantic (2011) and the EU Atlantic Action Plan 2014-2020 (2013) and associated strategies (e.g. Blue Growth, Marine Knowledge, etc.).  

Further support to trans-Atlantic cooperation between Europe, the United States and Canada was facilitated by Ireland in May 2013 with the signing of an agreement on trans-Atlantic Research Cooperation at the Marine Institute Headquarters in Galway (The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation). View EU Atlantic Strategy and Action Plan. 

Signing the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation (24th May 2013). Photographer Andrew Downes.

Funding to support and progress international and pan-European marine research cooperation will be supported through EU co-funding through programmes such as HORIZON 2020, INTERREG-V, LIFE+ and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). For further details visit our Research and Funding section.   

Background: International Marine Research Cooperation 

International cooperation is an essential ingredient of a successful research, development and innovation strategy. This is recognised at both European level (e.g. An Integrated 
Maritime Policy for the European Union, 2008) and at national level (e.g. Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (2012) and its importance for Ireland is further emphasised by the National Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation in its 2008 Report “Ireland’s International Engagement in Science, Technology and Innovation”.  

Maintaining existing international partnerships and generating new ones, particularly in the new and exciting areas at the forefront of Science, Technology and Innovation, greatly strengthens national capacity and enables Irish researchers and research-based SMEs stay at the forefront of knowledge. It also creates bridges to foreign markets for a range of globally traded knowledge-based products and services. An example of this is the new advanced marine technology programme being pioneered by the Irish SMARTOCEAN initiative. 

 At the international level, Ireland is represented on key inter-governmental marine organisations such as:

  • The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) ;
  • The Oslo and Paris Commission (OSPAR) .

The Marine Institute is represented on strategic pan-European networks:

Inputting to the European marine science agenda:

 Promoting marine knowledge:

  • European Centre for Information on Marine Science and Technology (EurOCEAN).  

Networking and sharing access to pan-European marine research infrastructures: 

Over the planning period 2007-2013, Irish researchers and knowledge-based SMEs have participated in over 210 marine related EU co-funded marine projects, participating with 66 countries worldwide and winning over €70 million in EU grant-aid (Ref: New Connections-II, IN PRESS). 


 Figure 1. Countries with whom Ireland cooperated in EU funded marine projects 2007-2013. Ref: New Connections-II, Marine Institute (2014) (IN PRESS).

 But it is not just about money, participation in competitive international research, development and innovation projects:

  • adds significant value to national research funding investments;
  • ensures that Irish research efforts are meeting the most demanding international standards;
  • facilitates achievement of the necessary scale of effort whereby national priorities can be more effectively addressed;
  • supports mobility and career development, enhances domestic quality and stimulates innovative thinking;
  • supports research at a regional scale that would not be possible by a single country on its own;
  • helps to reduce duplication and fragmentation of effort;
  • enhances access to international state of the art facilities;
  • strengthens international alliances and opens commercial opportunities for globally traded knowledge based products and services. 

For further information on Irish participation in EU funded marine projects over the period 2007-2013 see:

 “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes”. Marcel Proust (1871-1922)