GMIT-based SMART programme wins top marine industry award

Wednesday, July 06, 2016 Press Office
Press Release

Excellence in Marine Education and Training Award presented to Dr Pauhla McGrane

The second annual Marine Industry Awards, held at the Radisson Blu Hotel recently (30 June), presented the Excellence in Marine Education & Training award to the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART), based in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

The marine industry award recognises the outstanding contribution of SMART in providing unique, accredited, ship-based training to third-level students of marine science and technology, giving students the skills, experience and confidence to carry out research and operate at sea. SMART was also nominated in the prestigious category Overall Marine Excellence.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Michael Creed, and Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, presented the award to Dr Pauhla McGrane, co-ordinator of SMART who accepted it on behalf of SMART partner institutes which comprise GMIT, NUIG, UCC, Ulster University and AIT, with the support of the Marine Institute and the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Dr Pauhla McGrane says: “We are delighted that the Marine Industry Awards have recognised the importance of training young people at sea and developing the ocean professionals of the future. Building indigenous talent is crucial so that we can address the multitude of problems affecting our oceans and sustainably manage our vast ocean territory for future generations.”

“SMART is completely unique globally in providing students with the opportunity to participate in accredited training at sea programmes on world-class research vessel infrastructure, while working with a dedicated team of experts. This is all part of the third-level curricula and adds considerable value to higher education across the island of Ireland. It also means that our students are more competitive and employable on the national and International stage”.

Dr Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President for Research and Innovation, congratulated all involved in SMART on the award, saying “It is fantastic that SMART has been recognised for its tremendous work. GMIT has a long record of training students offshore so it is most appropriate the SMART cluster is embedded within GMIT’s Marine and Freshwater Research Centre to continue this legacy of training ocean researchers of the future. The programme is an excellent demonstration of the benefits that arise when Higher Educational Institutions can work together in a thematically aligned cluster.”

He continued “Congratulations also to Dr Deirdre Brophy, Leader of GMIT’s Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC), which was shortlisted for Excellence in Marine Research in recognition of the quality and innovation of its research outputs over the last twelve months”.

The Marine Industry Awards 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. For 2016 Winners please see
For further information on the SMART programme, please contact . See also and or  .