Taoiseach announces €6 million investment and 20 new jobs in Marine Institute facility in Newport Mayo

Marine Institute Research Facility in Newport, Co. Mayo

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today announced the creation of 20 new jobs and a €6 million investment in the Marine Institute's facility in Newport, Co. Mayo.

The 20 new positions will be based at the Marine Institute, Newport, where they will be engaged on a number of research projects funded from a secured pot of €6 million in research grants from a number of agencies including Science Foundation Ireland, Interreg, EU H2020/European Research Council, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the British Research Council.

Speaking in Furnace, near Newport, Co. Mayo, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, said:

"The announcement by the Marine Institute supporting 20 new positions here in Newport is very timely following the launch of 'Realising our Rural Potential – the Action Plan for Rural Development' earlier this week. The Newport facility is a real example of innovation taking place in a rural community and creates exciting opportunities both now and in the years ahead. Scientists at doctoral and post-doctoral level working at the facility are involved in conducting research with not only national implications, but also international relevance. In other words, it firmly brings what is a rural area into a national and international context. This is a relatively unique research facility in operation since 1955 and I am delighted to see the continued excellent quality research that is taking place following €6 million in funding from research grants. I also wish to thank the Marine Institute and their educational Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, John Killeen, Chairman Marine Institute Board, Michael Ring, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, and Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport at Newport on Saturday. Photo Cr Michael McLaughlin  partners for their efforts in building a strong international reputation for marine research and innovation."

As the national agency for marine research, technology, development and innovation, the Marine Institute seeks to assess and realise the economic potential of Ireland's marine resource, promote sustainable development of marine industry through strategic funding programmes and essential scientific services, as well as safeguard Ireland's natural marine resource through research and the environmental monitoring.

The Marine Institute's facility in Newport is a unique research centre, where a range of cutting edge research is carried out including genetics work across several species of salmon, sea bass and Pollock, research on the catchment and climate change. The facility is attracting multiple Irish Higher Education Institutions and international partners including University College Cork, Queens University, University College Dublin, GMIT, Dundalk Institute of Technology, NUI Galway and the University of Glasgow. In addition, the Marine Institute is working with Mayo County Council to actively develop new initiatives at the facility to further enhance what the Marine Institute can offer and benefit the local area.

Supporting the announcement, Minister Creed said: "The Department and industry consider Pollock a very important commercial species for some elements of the Irish fleet. It is good to see a new project on this species being carried out in Newport, using the scientific expertise that is there."

Dr Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute CEO, said: "Ireland has been gaining a reputation in Europe, and internationally for its marine research and innovation, and for driving collaboration in this area. We have a strong marine research community supported by growing national research infrastructure. This €6 million investment programme will see the Marine Institute expand its research capacity at its Newport facility and the continued investment in marine research will ensure that Ireland stays at the cutting edge of research and innovation."

Welcoming the news Peter Hynes, Mayo County Chief Executive added: "This is fantastic news for Mayo and the West region and Mayo County Council looks forward to continuing to work with the Marine Institute to further develop this cutting edge research facility here in Newport."

Philip McGinnity, University College Cork /Marine Institute, Paul Ross, University College Cork, Sarah Culloty, University College Cork, Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Paul Connolly, Director Marine Institute, John Killeen, Chairman Marine Institute Board, Michael Ring, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, and Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport at Newport on Saturday. Photo Cr Michael McLaughlin


  • The Marine Institute's facility in Newport is a unique research facility located in the Burrishoole Valley and forms one of the greatest natural laboratories for studying migratory fish in Europe. The facility offers researchers a unique opportunity to investigate catchment ecosystem events, fish genetics, fish movements (telemetry), fish stock assessment, fish mortality at sea, climate change, oceanography and aquaculture.
  • The Newport facility has been operating since 1955, when it was established by the Salmon Research Trust of Ireland. Guinness were involved in the financing and running of the facility. Throughout the 1980s Guinness gradually phased out its involvement and the facilities were donated as a gift to the State. On 1st January 1990, The Salmon Research Agency (SRA) took charge of the facilities on behalf of the Minister for the Marine. In July 1999, the SRA was amalgamated with the Marine Institute.
  • In all, 20 new scientists (Scientists; Post-Doctoral Researchers and PhDs) will work at the Newport Research Facility over the next 5 years on a range of research projects

(1) Sea Bass
New Ireland - Wales INTERREG Project
Funding of 1 scientist (STO) for 4 Years to study the movements of Sea Bass in the Celtic Seas area.
Partners, MI, UCC, BIM, Three Universities from Wales
Funding for the MI - €1 million over 4 years.

(2) Pollock and Blue Fin Tuna
Funding from European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
Funding of 1 Scientist (STO) for 4 years to study the ecology and develop assessments for Pollock. This work will also look at blue fin tuna tagging.
Funding to MI of €400,000

(3) Genetics Work at NRF
The MI and UCC have entered into a strategic partnership that will see a Genetics Principal Investigator (PI) recruited by UCC and based at NRF. The PI commenced work at NRF in April 2016 and has already secured the following funding;
(a) Farmed – Wild Salmon interactions
Partners; MI (Co-ordinator), UCC QUB
SFI funding of € 2.7 million over next 5 years.
Five Scientific posts at NRF
(b) Linking salmon energetics to microbial diversity
Partners: MI, Univ. Glasgow (Co-ordinator), Marine Harvest
British Research Council – SFI - € 1.5 Million over next 4 years
One scientific post at NRF
(c) Why some brown trout become sea trout
Partners: UCC (Co-ordinator), MI
European Research Council. €1.5 million to UCC
One scientific post at NRF

(4) Catchment Ecosystem Work
(a) Impacts of catchment ecosystem on fish survival
Partners; DKIT (Co-ordinator - Dundalk Institute Technology), DCU, QUB, UCD, Univ. Glasgow
Marine Institute Competitive Research Award - €2 million over 5 years
Six University Scientists based at NRC
(b) Catchment Ecosystems
(c) Impacts of catchment ecosystems on fish survival
Partners: GMIT (Co-ordinators), UCC
Marine Institute Competitive Research Award -€ 0.5 million over 5 years
One University Scientist based at NRC.