A National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy (MRIS) was identified as a key enabling action in Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan – Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. This need was echoed in Innovation 2020, the national Research and Innovation Strategy. The MRIS covers the period 2017 to 2021 and was prepared by the Marine Institute on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group.
As part of the preparation of the MRIS, the Marine Institute, on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group, undertook a detailed review of national and European policies and strategies in relation to the marine. This process identified the 15 major themes that are considered under the Strategy (see graphic). This approach was taken to ensure that the Strategy is focused on applied and demand-led research, while recognising the importance of a fully functional marine research system that extends from basic research, through applied research, to translational utilisation of research outputs.
Ireland’s National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021 was launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in June 2017.
The MRIS builds on the significant progress made during the implementation of Ireland’s previous Marine Research, Knowledge and Innovation Strategy – Sea Change 2007-2013, which added new research capacity in priority areas and highlighted the potential of marine-related research to contribute to wider economic growth.
The MRIS aims to provide a framework within which funding for marine research can be targeted most effectively to areas of strategic importance. It allows research funders, working in partnership with the Marine Institute, to assess the impact and likely return to the state from research investment in marine related research. It is also designed to ensure that state support for marine research results in Irish researchers being able to compete at an international level and participate fully in transnational research projects. The Strategy outlines 16 key implementing actions.
The MRIS continues to be implemented as a whole of government strategy. As part of the Strategy’s implementing actions a Marine Research Funders’ Forum (MRFF) was established as a strategy implementation mechanism in 2018. The Forum brings together state funding organisations with the aim of enhancing coordination in marine related research funding, whilst also addressing a number of the implementing actions set out in the Strategy.
In collaboration with the members of the MRFF, another implementing action identified in the Strategy also commenced in 2018 – the collection and analysis of national marine research investment data. Collection of this data is an ongoing process and a national database of marine research projects is available here.
The database is filterable by Year, Research Theme, Funder, Research Organisation, Organisation Type, and Award Type. In addition to projects funded by the national funders, the database also contains internationally funded projects with Irish involvement e.g. Horizon 2020, Interreg.