The Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, TD and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan, TD, announced details of the joint Marine Institute – Higher Education Authority (HEA) programme to enhance Ireland’s reputation as a global centre for marine research at Government Buildings.
The initiative will support eight training courses and four integrated research surveys aboard the national research vessels Celtic Explorer and Celtic Voyager, giving Irish researchers significantly more time on the water. The total grant aid to the third level sector will be over €1.4million, and a total of 185 scientists and science students from institutions, North and South, will benefit. The initiative is supported under the Infrastructure Support Measure of Sea Change – A Marine Knowledge, Research and Innovation Strategy for Ireland 2007-2013.
“Access to ship time is essential if marine scientists – be they experienced experts or interested students – are to come directly to grips with the opportunities and challenges of exploring the potential of our vast marine resource, and the part it plays in global climate change,” said Minister Coughlan. “I am delighted that these grants will go towards training the next generation of fisheries and marine scientists and facilitating their access to the fine state-of-the-art vessels Ireland now has in service.”
Speaking of the educational value of the programme, Minister Hanafin said “this initiative will enable students and researchers to avail of specialised research on board these vessels and will give them an unparalleled view of marine science. This will be valuable experience of working at sea that cannot be duplicated in any other situation. Combining the practical experience on vessels with the high level of academic learning now on offer from marine-orientated courses in Higher Education Institutions, North and South, is a recipe for success in reaching the Government’s objective - to make Ireland an International Centre of Marine Research Excellence.”
The Marine Institute is the national agency responsible for marine research, technology, development and innovation. The Higher Education Authority is the independent statutory body charged with advising Government on higher education policy and for funding our universities and third level colleges.
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