SmartBay Collaborators Intel Announce New Lab in Ireland

VIPS at Intel eventIntel, who are key collaborators in the Marine Institute-led SmartBay consortium, have announced a new Energy and Sustainability Lab in Ireland.

 The announcement was made last Thursday 14th October by An Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny T.D. and Intel’s Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner during the annual Intel European Research and Innovation Conference (ERIC) on the Intel campus in Leixlip. 

(Picture Left to Right: Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, An Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny T.D. and Mr. Eamonn Sinnott, Intel Ireland General Manager and Vice President Technology Manufacturing Group, Intel Ireland at the event.)

The announcement was made after both the Taoiseach and EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn had delivered keynote addresses to the conference delegates, in which both underpinned the role of research and innovation. The new Energy and Sustainability Lab (ESL) initiative has an extensive research portfolio leveraging a growing ecosystem of academic and industrial partners in Europe and beyond. The lab is a key collaborator in the SmartBay project, lead by the Marine Institute. SmartBay is a test and demonstration research infrastructure which is a foundation platform for an emerging ocean technologies cluster.

“The SmartBay vision is to provide a marine based research, test and demonstration platform which will encourage leading edge researchers and industry consortia to collaborate together on important commercial and environmental research to develop new products and services to tap into the global market for environmental technologies,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, who was speaking at the conference.  “The objective is to advance opportunities associated with marine resource development and to enhance our ability to monitor and manage our marine resources.  The strategic objectives are aligned with Sea Change – Ireland’s marine knowledge, research and innovation strategy for 2007 - 2013.”

Since 2005, the Marine Institute has worked in collaboration with key agencies such as the EPA, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA as well as industry SME’s and multinationals such as Intel, to develop a national Marine Technology R&D Programme.  This programme, together with increasing international interest in establishing coastal and ocean observatories, led to the concept of SmartBay.  In 2007, the Marine Institute undertook an assessment of potential locations for a pilot project on the West coast of Ireland.  This resulted in the selection of Galway Bay. 

“Smart infrastructure test beds  such as SmartBay coupled with the progressive thinking in Europe in the areas of energy and sustainability have been key factors for Intel in headquartering ESL in Ireland,” said Dr. Martin Curley, Director Intel Labs Europe, who was present at the launch. “Intel Labs Europe has been a key initiator in the establishment of SmartBay and continues to support and avail of the facility to develop and test a number of innovative ICT platforms with the aim of creating both green and blue growth through digitising the ocean with pervasive low cost sensing.”

The SmartBay pilot project includes the deployment of a range of instrumentation, including environmental monitoring buoys, wave monitoring instrumentation and a flow gauge on the River Corrib.  Technical research projects are being undertaken as part of the SmartBay Pilot.  These are in the areas of data management, telemetry, climate change research and hydrodynamic modelling. The future development of the SmartBay project will lead to the establishment of cabled hub infrastructure in Galway bay and the establishment of test and demonstration facility for new technologies.