The Marine Institute headquarters and laboratory facility at Oranmore, Co. Galway was honoured today (25th March) by a visit by both the US and UK Ambassadors to Ireland, The Honorable Mr. Daniel M. Rooney and His Excellency Julian King.
Photo: The US Ambassador to Ireland, the Honorable Mr. Daniel M. Rooney Dr. Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute and the UK Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Julian King.
The two senior diplomats toured the facility in the company of the Marine Institute’s Chief Executive Dr. Peter Heffernan where they received briefings on marine biotechnology, salmon migration, underwater observatories and a number of projects undertaken in collaboration with Queen’s University of Belfast. Information was included on Institute’s role in facilitating research and innovation in support of Ireland’s emerging marine renewable energy sector using ‘SMART’ technology.
The ambassadors were also introduced to the “Real Map of Ireland” – a high resolution, three-dimensional model of Ireland’s 220 million acre seabed territory as defined by the Irish National Seabed Survey and its inshore component INFOMAR, which included the mapping of the seabed around Northern Ireland in the Joint Irish Bathymetric Project (JIBS).
“We are delighted that both ambassadors were able to take time from their busy schedules to visit us and to learn how cutting-edge science is being applied to the sustainable development of Ireland’s greatest natural resource – our oceans and seas,” said Dr. Heffernan. “Ever since the foundation of the Institute in 1991 we have enjoyed close co-operation with both countries - across the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. This visit gave us a chance to show the ambassadors some of the fruits of those projects and lay foundations for new collaborations in the future.”
Earlier this week, the Institute was host to the Workshop “SMARTOCEAN IRELAND – Harnessing Ireland’s Potential as a European and Global Centre for Ocean Technologies” which was attended by EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Ms. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Minister Tony Killeen. The Workshop heard how the Marine Institute is working on a major technological cluster initiative including a number of US multinationals and has already successfully launched the SmartBay project in Galway Bay with IBM, Intel and a number of other partners to create a ‘Smart’ monitoring system for our inshore waters. A major project on Biodiscovery under the Sea Change research and innovation strategy is being conducted jointly with Queen’s University in Belfast and Irish scientists regularly collaborate with their UK counterparts on joint projects and scientific working groups on fisheries science.