Photo: Illustration (Courtesy of the Marine Insititute)

Marine Institute of Ireland awards grants for advanced ocean tech research

Marine Institute of Ireland, in collaboration with PLOCAN, has awarded €240,000 in funding for two PhD scholarships that will seek to address challenges related to ocean observing systems and advanced ocean technology development.

Illustration (Courtesy of the Marine Insititute)
Illustration (Courtesy of the Marine Insititute)

The scholarships were awarded as first two under the Eoin Sweeney scholarship programme.

The programme has been established by the Marine Institute and Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN) in memory of Eoin Sweeney (1947-2017), who made a significant contribution to developing Irish marine industry, particularly the ocean energy sector, including the establishment of test-bed sites off the west coast of Ireland that provide sea-state testing opportunities for researchers and technology developers.

One of the awarded scholarships will address the ‘Application of AUVs to studies on Diel cycles of ocean plankton and biogeochemistry in the Northeast Atlantic’ and will be led by the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUI Galway), while the second scholarship will focus on the ‘Wave-powered data buoy’ and will be led by Maynooth University.

The students are expected to start by July 2021, with their first visit to PLOCAN expected to take place in 2022, dependent on easing of the current Covid-19 travel restriction.

The scholarships will address research challenges associated with advanced ocean technology development and/or ocean observing systems.

The students will also benefit from access to the Marine Institute historical datasets, equipment and infrastructures including access to the national marine research vessels.

José Joaquín Hernández-Brito, CEO of PLOCAN, said: “PLOCAN are delighted to collaborate with colleagues in Ireland on this Scholarship Programme. We are looking forward to hosting the students in due course, and wish to strengthen our existing research networks between Spain and Ireland together with exploring opportunities for future co-operation in ocean observation”.

Congratulating the award recipients, Mick Gillooly, Director of Ocean Climate and Information Services in the Marine Institute said: “This is an exciting collaboration between the two Universities, PLOCAN and the Marine Institute that enables international collaboration and testing of novel technology, gliders and data buoys, to better understand our ocean ecosystems through long-term observations.

“Forecasting Ocean and Climate Change is a strategic focus area in the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan and these scholarships will provide research data from a variety of locations and sea conditions, which will contribute to scientific advice to stakeholders backed up by high quality peer-reviewed research”.

Funding for the Eoin Sweeney Scholarship Programme is provided by the Marine Institute and the Irish government, funded under the Marine Research Programme. PLOCAN will provide support and host the scholars for two to three months per year in the following four years.