GMIT to link up with Marine Institute to further develop marine research

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology is to join forces with the Marine Institute to further develop marine research capabilities, undergraduate and postgraduate marine science programmes and, staff training and development initiatives at the two organisations.

Both have signed a memorandum of understanding as a basis for the collaboration and sharing of expertise. The agreement allows for reciprocal adjunct appointments between the two organisations.

GMIT and the Marine Institute have been involved in collaborative activities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for many years, through training on Marine Institute vessels, joint research projects and sharing of equipment and facilities.

Two GMIT postgraduate research students are currently on board the Marine Institute’s Galway-based research vessel RV Celtic Explorer on an historic research trip off northern Canada.

The ship has been chartered by the Newfoundland Provincial Government and the research conducted abroad will help develop a better understanding of the state of fish stocks and marine ecosystems in the waters near the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The initiative is a result of a partnership between the Marine Institute and the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Dr Des Foley, the head of GMIT’s School of Science, says Galway is a strong centre for marine science and there is significant capacity for research and the development of technology across a number of institutions.

“GMIT’s marine and freshwater research group is continually working to develop a broader partnership for marine science and technology that would also involve organisations with similar interests. The GMIT and Marine Institute memorandum of understanding is an excellent starting point from which to build further links into the future.

“GMIT recently enhanced its capacity for marine and freshwater research through the refurbishment and development of new laboratories at its Dublin Road campus. Its Marine and Freshwater Research Group has excellent European links. GMIT is a core partner in a new pan European programme (www.mares-eu.org ) that has secured over €5 million in European funding for collaborative post-graduates research on marine ecosystem health and conservation.”

Dr Peter Heffernan of the Marine Institute says a strengthening of national critical mass and other synergy benefits are important elements of its strategy in forging closer alliances with the higher education sector in Ireland.

“We plan for similar ties with other Irish universities and institutes of technology and are pleased to commence this process with GMIT given we are close neighbours.

“Ireland has delivered an outstanding performance in the record levels of marine research funding it has secured from competitive EU programmes (now well over €30m ) in the last three years and we feel these new alliances will further strengthen Irish competitiveness.”

The Marine Institute is the State agency responsible for marine research, development and innovation in Ireland. Based in Oranmore it provides a range of services to Government, industry, the third level sector and the public. The institute operates the national research vessels and provides data and information services to support industry, development, environment protection and underpins the work of a range of Government departments, State agencies and local authorities.

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