“Smart” ocean monitoring networks, hi-tech research vessels, hand-held weather forecasting systems and super-detailed maps of the seabed are among the displays featured on Ireland’s stand at the “Oi10 - Oceanology International” exhibition this week in London.
(Photo: Neill Killeen - Marine Institute)
The stand showcases Ireland’s fast-growing marine technology sector with displays by the Marine Institute, Nowcasting, TechWorks Marine and P&O Maritime Services - who manage Ireland’s national research vessel fleet and have just announced their intention to build three specialised vessels to service offshore energy generating installations.
“It’s staggering to think that, even ten years ago, Ireland had only a fraction of the marine technological expertise we have today,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. “But thanks to our unique geographical position as a gateway to the North Atlantic, to visionary Irish entrepreneurs with the courage to invest in this sector and to strategic thinking that recognised the value of our 220 million acre seabed resource, Ireland is catching up fast in the area of marine technology.”
In 2006, the Marine Institute co-ordinated a wide variety of stakeholder groups, including representatives from the marine technology sector, to formulate “Sea Change – A Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy for Ireland,” which identified significant opportunities for Ireland, not only in the marine sensor and communications technology devices on display in London this week, but also in harnessing technology to solve problems in aquaculture, seafood processing, environmental monitoring and ocean energy. Sea Change then went on to formulate a practical strategy of applied research and innovation by academia, government and private companies to achieve these opportunities.
Other displays on the Irish stand at Oceanology 2010 include innovative hand-held weather forecasting systems from Nowcasting in Ennis, Co. Clare, a range of high-tech ocean monitoring buoys and sensor systems from the Dun Laoghaire-based company TechWorks Marine, and results from the national inshore-mapping survey INFOMAR, carried out as part of the Irish National Seabed Survey by the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Marine Institute and partners. Results of this survey are available on the stand in the form of “The Real Map of Ireland” showing a detailed map of our undersea territory, from Ireland’s inshore waters to the abyssal deeps beyond the continental shelf.