Government’s Research Priorities Highlight Marine Opportunities

research prioritisation steering group publicationThe Marine Institute welcomes the launch (March 1st 2012), by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton, T.D., of the Government's plan to target the majority of the Government's core research budget on areas with the greatest potential for economic return. The Report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group recommends 14 specific areas of greatest opportunity.

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute welcomed the report saying "It clearly highlights the opportunities for economic growth through research in the areas of seafood, both aquaculture and wild fisheries, Marine renewable energy and ICT applications in the marine environment (based on the Smartocean concept) and marine food for health. We look forward to participating in the Prioritisation Action Group, established to oversee the implementation of the reports recommendations."

The Steering Group also highlighted the need for "research for policy" in support of the priority areas. "Such research is vital in supporting sustainable development of our marine resources through a better understanding of marine ecosystem functioning and the ecological services and biodiversity it supports, " added Dr. Heffernan " This policy research is also crucial in supporting the implementation of international/EU obligations, such as for example, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive ."

Many of the research objectives aimed at realising the potential in these sectors are spelt out in Sea Change-A Marine Knowledge, Research and Innovation Strategy for Ireland, and will continue to guide future research investment.

The necessity for research as an 'enabler', in support of potential commercial opportunities and policy development/implementation, has also been identified in the recently launched public consultation Our Ocean Wealth, which seeks input from the public in developing an Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.

The marine research priorities identified for support under the Report of the Research Prioritisation Steering Group connect with those identified in the EUs €80 billion Horizon 2020 Programme (2014-2020) and in the European Union Strategy for the Atlantic (2011), providing a unique opportunity for co-funded research, development and innovation supporting the sustainable development of our shared European marine resources.