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GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Centre shortlisted for two national awards

Author: 

Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) at GMIT has been shortlisted for two prestigious national Marine Industry Awards (2016), which recognise excellence in individuals and companies that play a significant role in the growth and development of the marine industry in Ireland.

The Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Marine Education & Training category, which recognises the Irish based third level institution, technical training college or organisation that can best demonstrate excellence in the delivery and development of knowledge or skills in the marine and maritime industries.

The Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) has been shortlisted for an Excellence in Marine Research award, which recognises the organisation, laboratory or research institute engaging in marine research that can best demonstrate excellence over the past 12 months.

Dr Rick Officer, Vice President for Research & Innovation at GMIT, congratulated both nominees: “Shortlisting for these two awards recognises GMIT’s great reputation in strategically targeted areas aligned to national and international needs for marine research and capacity building. The Institute’s strategic plan for research and innovation aims to further strengthen these areas by recruiting research active staff, increasing postgraduate student activity and attracting external funding.

MFRC Leader, Dr Deirdre Brophy, says: “Our inclusion on the shortlist for the Excellence in Marine Research Award demonstrates the quality and impact of MFRC research and our contribution to the sustainable growth of Ireland’s marine industry”.

GMIT’s Marine & Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) is a dynamic group of researchers, academics and students working together to enhance the management of marine and freshwater ecosystems worldwide. The Centre comprises some 20 research-active academic staff and contract researchers, and over 20 postgraduate students who carry out research projects in co-operation with agencies and industry, and provides expertise and advice to national and international bodies.

The benefits of MFRC research for the marine industry are threefold; by collecting, analysing and interpreting data, the team helps to ensure sustainable management of fisheries and their ecosystems. The group also works to conserve biodiversity by assessing the response of aquatic species to human impacts and environmental stresses. Finally, MFRC researchers collaborate closely with industry to research, test and identify innovative technologies that can improve productivity in the seafood sector.

The SMART programme is a world leader in offshore ocean science training and education delivering practical research vessel-based skills training to over 350 third-level students of marine science, technology and engineering annually.

SMART Coordinator, Dr Pauhla McGrane, says: “We are delighted that the Marine Industry Awards have shortlisted SMART for Excellence in Education and Training and have recognised the critical importance of offshore training in developing the indigenous talent required to sustainably manage our vast underwater ocean territory for the future.”

SMART courses support the growing marine sector by producing experienced and skilled ocean professionals, capable of working at sea and contributing to the Blue Economy. The programme is hosted by GMIT and supported by the Higher Education Authority, and the Marine Institute.  Smart involves several Higher Education institutions (HEIs) with marine expertise including GMIT, NUI Galway, University College Cork, Ulster University and Athlone Institute of Technology.

SMART courses uniquely enable students and researchers to access world class research infrastructure, equipment and instrumentation and acquire the skills and practical experience required to operate and carry out research at sea. For many students these courses are their first direct experience of working on a vessel at sea. The training prepares students to work in areas as diverse as ocean observation, seabed and habitat mapping, marine renewable energies and ecosystem services.

The Marine Industry Awards 2016, in association with SeaFest, provide a voice for the individuals and companies that play a significant role in the growth and development of the industry in Ireland while recognising the key functions within the industry that promote growth and sustainability.

The award winners will be announced on Thursday, 30 June, at a reception in the Radisson Blu, Galway.

 

 

SMART programme students and some of their lecturers at sea aboard the Research Vessel Celtic Voyager

SMART programme students and some of their lecturers at sea aboard the Research Vessel Celtic Voyager

SMART programme students and some of their lecturers at sea aboard the Research Vessel Celtic VoyagerSMART programme students and some of their lecturers at sea aboard the Research Vessel Celtic Voyager