Investment in Blue Innovation driving Ireland's marine sector

Investment in Blue Innovation driving Ireland's marine sectorRobotics, Internet of Things and Data Analytics are set to play a key role in Ireland's blue economy. The Marine Institute who is the national funding agency for marine research Industry is committed to supporting industry-led innovation in the marine sector, where it recently awarded financial investments in two marine technology projects led by XOcean and IDS Monitoring.

Recently announced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine the industry led awards support Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth as well as the national Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2021. With a growing blue economy both advanced technology research projects have the potential to be globally significant, and present enormous commercial opportunities for these Irish marine enterprises.

"Supporting Irish companies in the marine sector, through research grants, helps to accelerate innovation and drive growth in our blue economy. The Marine Institute is committed to assisting industry-led development through knowledge transfer, capacity building and research to enable optimal decision making and planning to best leverage our natural marine resources sustainably and efficiently," said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.

Louth-based marine technology firm, XOcean, has been awarded €199,739 in funding over two years to transform marine monitoring and data collection. The company uses innovative robotics, particularly unmanned vehicles, and IoT technology to monitor and collect data at sea.

Traditionally monitoring and data collection at sea present many unique challenges. In the case of monitoring fish stocks, monitoring can be unpredictable and costly due to delays caused by weather conditions and safety requirements. Monitoring vessels generally operate alone and therefore generate a single point measurement at a single point in time. As fish are highly mobile, this is an inherent limitation in single sonar surveys.

Deploying this funding, XOcean will research and develop of a cost-effective way of deploying and using unmanned technology with multiple sonar devices simultaneously to survey for fish in an area. The technical development to be undertaken in this project concerns the design, implementation and testing of tools and techniques to allow the safe, efficient and effective use of unmanned vessels in a 'swarm' formation for fisheries research. At the end of the 2-year project, the technology will be fully demonstrated in the live environment. This project will demonstrate an increase in spatial and temporal resolution of fish surveys, resulting in more effective data collection, while also reducing costs, risk and supporting the sustainable monitoring and data collection of fish stocks.

A new Smart Data Buoy project by Clare based IDS Monitoring will also benefit from a €196,955 funding grant, to develop a new smart buoy for coastal and inshore environmental monitoring. This project will redesign the physical structure of the buoy; upgrade the system electronics and software including wave sensor components and the development of a standard set of moorings that would be appropriate in almost all weather and water scenarios. The new IDS Buoy will make it easier to assemble, deploy and use buoys, as well as reducing purchase costs and maintenance, whilst enhancing the value of the information delivered through the smart buoy.

Both advanced technology research projects funded through the Marine Institute have the potential to be globally significant, and present enormous commercial opportunities for these Irish marine enterprises.

Increased economic growth and job creation from small and medium sized enterprises based in Ireland is a key component of several national strategies and regional development plans. These awards will be carried out with the support of the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 funded by the Irish Government, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)".


Marine InstituteIrelands European Structural and Investment Funds ProgrammeEuropean Union - European Regional Development Fund

Marine Institute's Strategic Plan 2018-2022, Building Ocean Knowledge - Delivering Ocean Services
The Marine Institute's Strategic Plan 2018-2022, Building Ocean Knowledge - Delivering Ocean Services, was developed to ensure the provision of fit-for purpose research, advice and services for the department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, other government departments and agencies; as well as a broad range of national and international stakeholders.

Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland
Published in 2012, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth sets out the Government's Vision, High-Level Goals, and Key 'Enabling' Actions to put in place the appropriate policy, governance and business climate to enable our marine potential to be realised.

National Marine Research & Innovation Strategy 2017-2021
Published in 2017, the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2021 focuses on the broad topics identified in existing Government policies and strategies and provides a framework that recognises the complexity of research funding in the marine domain.

Grants Awarded

Project Title

Lead Organisation (Company)

Project Partners

Total Project Funding Awarded

Main Research Theme (National Marine R&I Strategy)

Development of the next generation fisheries surveys using a "swarm" of Unmanned Surface Vessels

Xocean Limited

Not Applicable


Advanced Technologies

The IDS Smart buoy Project





IDS Monitoring Ltd

Not Applicable


Advanced Technologies