Head of Marine Board-ESF visits Marine Institute Headquarters


Dr Niamh Connolly, Executive Secretary of the Marine Board-European Science Foundation, visited the Marine Institute HQ in Galway on Friday 15th August where she gave a lunchtime lecture on “The Marine Board and its role in shaping European Marine Science Policy”. Dr Connolly was previously Director of the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre (CMRC) at University College Cork.

The Ostend-based Marine Board-ESF is a consortium of 28 marine research organisations from 19 countries and was established in 1995 to facilitate co-operation in marine science and technology and to promote marine science and technology issues on both national and European research agendas. The Marine Board moved from the ESF offices in Strasbourg (France) to Ostend (Belgium) in 2007.

The Marine Institute is a founder member of the Marine Board-ESF and has worked closely with the Marine Board in developing marine research policies and has facilitated the participation of a number of Irish marine researchers in Marine Board activities including Conferences and Specialist Working Groups.  

‘Ireland is a very highly regarded member of this Forum, and though one of the smallest, is seen as one of the most active and influential Member States in the area of European Marine Science Policy development’ said Dr Connolly.    

Key initiatives of the Marine Board have been the EurOCEAN Conference Series, particularly those in 2004 (Galway) and 2007 (Aberdeen) which resulted in the often quoted Galway and Aberdeen Declarations on Marine Science and Technology; the publication of  influential position papers, for example, on Marine Biodiversity (1998/2000), Marine Biotechnology (2001), Global Climate Change (2007); European Research Fleets (2007);  the publication “Navigating the Future-III” (2006) which had a major influence on EU thinking on the 7th Framework Programme and more recently, inputs to EU Green Papers on “An integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union” and “The European Research Area: New Perspectives”.  

Marine Institute CEO, Dr Peter Heffernan, working through the Marine Board, played a key role in formulating the Galway (2004) and Aberdeen (2007) Declarations and in bringing the draft Aberdeen Declaration through key international Conferences in Brussels (January 2007), Bremen (May 2007) and Aberdeen (June 2007) to fruition in Lisbon (July 2007) as a key component of the EU Maritime Policy which was published in October 2007 during the Portuguese-EU Presidency.  

“The Marine Board has, in essence, developed as a very flexible, dynamic body that is able to react quickly to opportunities and challenges in the maritime and marine sectors” commented Geoffrey O Sullivan, Head of the International Cooperation Section at the Marine Institute and a Board Member of the Marine Board-ESF. “Membership on the Board allows Ireland to interact at a much higher level in Europe than the Marine Institute could on its own. It also allows Member States to present a combined vision of and response to marine science policy development in the European Union.”  

Further information on the work of the Marine Board: European Science Foundation can be found on the ESF Marine Board website www.esf.org/marine-board.