Ireland plays lead role in promoting marine science in Europe

Irish marine researchers have had a significant input in the European Science Foundation-Marine Board’s (ESF-MB) strategic report Integrating Marine Science in Europe. Minister of State, John Browne, was presented with an advance copy of the ESF-MB report at the Marine institute’s 10th anniversary conference at Dublin Castle. Welcoming the report, the Minister said: “it represented an important vision for Europe and was fully consistent with government policy of establishing Ireland as a centre of excellence in marine science”. Irish researchers contributed to ESF-MB report through participation in various ESF-MB international working groups, one of which – Marine Biotechnology - was hosted in Galway by the Marine Institute.                        

Presenting the report to the Minister, Dr Jean-François Minster, CEO of the French Marine Institute (IFREMER) and newly elected Chairperson of the ESF Marine Board said “We have established an important milestone in the process of integrating and developing marine science as a key component of the European Research Area. We have provided a basis for developing mechanisms for better co-ordinating Member States Marine R&D programmes, facilitating interagency co-operation and maximising the benefit for marine science and the marine sector for the European 6th Framework Programme”.  

Commenting on the report, the Marine Institute’s Geoffrey O’Sullivan, and Ireland’s representative on the ESF-MB said the report “represented a significant milestone in creating a “European Marine Research Area and set out the marine research priorities to be addressed by Europe over the coming decade”. The scientific, infrastructural and strategic issues to emerge from the ESF-MB Report include: European and societal dimensions, Sustainable development of natural resources, Europe’s coastal zones and shelf seas, Ocean climate interactions and feedback, New frontiers in marine science, critical technologies and the shared used of key infrastructures.  

Later in the month, the Marine Institute will chair the 1st meeting of European Marine Research Managers to explore options for opening up national marine research programmes to wider Community participation, an essential step in achieving a European Research Area.                        

The report, which is the result of two years consultation, provides a comprehensive overview of the important role of marine science in sustainable development and in meeting societal needs. It identifies exciting new developments in science and technology, highlights long-term observational needs, access to large scale infrastructures and outreach activities.                        

The Report will be officially presented to the EU Research Commissioner, Philippe Busquin, on 11th November in Brussels at a reception to coincide with the launch of the EU’s new 6th Research Framework Programme.