10 June 2021: Ensuring a sustainable future for our ocean is one of the great missions of the next decade. The ocean is our life source, supporting humanity and every other organism on Earth and is critical to our shared future. Put simply, without a healthy ocean we will not have a healthy future. International cooperation is essential for developing the scientific research and innovative technologies needed to protect and preserve the ocean and all that it sustains.
In the fourth and final week of the Oceans of Learning series, Our Ocean: Our Future looks at the importance of research, innovation and collaboration to sustainably manage our ocean for future generations. Throughout the Oceans of Learning series, the Marine Institute and partners have offered oceans of online resources including a new podcast series, educational videos and short films, and the latest news and information all about our ocean.
Located on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland is a gateway to Europe, and an Island at the centre of the world with significant marine resources, research knowledge and capacity. Ireland has earned a strong reputation in Europe, and internationally for its cutting-edge marine research and innovation. Ireland's portfolio of funded research projects is diverse, and overall Irish researchers and companies have been awarded €74.4 million in Horizon 2020 funding from 2014 to 2020.
In terms of international research partnerships, Ireland has earned a reputation for its collaborative efforts and has established networks spanning across Europe and the Atlantic.
The work of the Marine Institute has seen significant collaborations with industry and other research centres and universities in Ireland, Europe and international stakeholders. The Marine Institute supports a number of collaborative international research projects, and is directly involved in over 60 projects with European and international partners.
Ireland is also a global leader in the field of seabed mapping, and aims to be the first country in the world to map its entire marine territory by 2026. It is one of the largest civilian seabed mapping programmes in the world. The INFOMAR programme is a joint venture by the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute, and funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. Seabed mapping is important for environmental protection and economic growth and it has a range of applications such as shipping and navigation, renewable energy, aquaculture and tourism.
Another area of significant progress that has been made by the Marine Institute and across the Irish economy is the implementation of digital technology. In the marine research sector, new devices and numerical models are generating more data than ever before from more sources. More local sensor platforms, such as autonomous devices and fixed sensor platforms, are being deployed and providing real-time data to support marine innovation.
"Research and collaboration are key to ensuring the future sustainability of our ocean," said Mick Gillooly, Joint Acting CEO of the Marine Institute. "Ireland has strengths in many areas of marine research and is working with partners across the globe, to monitor, understand and protect our marine environment. Understanding our ocean and providing the scientific advice for its sustainable use are central to the Marine Institute's work and are key to our future. We want to ensure our seas maintain a healthy state for generations to come."
"Looking to the decade ahead, there's enormous opportunity for us all to work together and be engaged in ocean innovation and research, for what is possibly the last great exploration campaign on earth. This is an exciting time for Ireland," Mick Gillooly said.
This week sees the fourth and final episode in the Oceans of Learning podcast series air. This week presenter Finn van der Aar finds out how the next generation can seek to influence and engage with politicians and government and why research and innovation are so important for the marine environment. She will speak to Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs, John Bell, Director Healthy Planet DG Research & Innovation at the European Commission, Aodhán Fitzgerald, Research Vessel Manager with the Marine Institute, and Eimear Manning and Gary Kett who are both involved with the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassador Programme.
In addition this week as part of Oceans of Learning, the Marine Institute launches Voyages, a series of short vignettes profiling the people whose work is intertwined with our national research vessels the RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager.
The Marine Institute also presents the spectacular short film Dive Deep with the ROV Holland 1. The Marine Institute's Remotely Operated Vehicle the ROV Holland 1, has enabled scientists to make many exciting discoveries in our ocean. Take a dive and explore our deep sea like a marine scientist and discover cold-water corals, shipwrecks and a rare shark nursery in Irish waters.
The Commissioners of Irish Lights also offers the Lighthouse Storybook. From the distant past to the present day, lighthouses play a vital role in ensuring safety at sea and have always captured the imagination. The Lighthouse Storybook is a collection of creative stories from children across Ireland.
To view the suite of resources available for Oceans of Learning this week, visit Our Ocean: Our Future at www.marine.ie The Oceans of Learning podcast is available to download from Apple Podcasts and Spotify.