€8 million announced for research infrastructure in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, Ireland

MERC3 partners on the crest of a wave following the announcement by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Mr. Batt O Keeffe of €8 million for research infrastructure in Ringaskiddy.

UCC president Dr. Michael Murphy welcomed the announcement by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Innovation, Mr Batt O'Keeffe of major Government investment in research and innovation. The funding is part of the Government investment under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI), Cycle 5.

Ireland's ambition to lead the world in harvesting energy from the oceans got a major boost from today's announcement. The National Maritime Energy Cluster (MERC) at Ringaskiddy received almost €8 million with significant additional funding from the private sector and the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources. The National Ocean Energy Test Centre is central to MERC and a cornerstone of Minister Eamon Ryan's National Ocean Energy Strategy. Through this investment, MERC will bring together on one site the people, the ideas, and the infrastructure to support the development of Ireland's rapidly growing ocean energy industry.

Peter Coyle, Chairman of the Marine Renewables Industry Association (the representative body for the Ocean Energy industry) said: "Wave power is potentially a major source not only of renewable energy, but of new jobs and wealth creation. The MERC project will provide a 'one stop' shop for the industry's needs. He went on: "The support by Government for MERC is a massive vote of confidence in the jobs potential of the Maritime and Energy sectors."

"The Danes exploited their geographical advantage and research base to become leaders in wind energy," says Professor Peter Kennedy, Vice-President for Research at UCC. "Ireland has the potential to do the same with ocean energy."

Leading Irish companies in this field such as Wavebob and Ocean Energy Ltd. already have demonstrator systems producing energy in Galway Bay. To grow this industry further requires sophisticated engineering, advanced testing facilities, and highly skilled personnel. MERC will deliver this capability

Commenting on today's announcement, Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick, Head of the College of Science, Engineering & Food Science (SEFS) said that this funding builds on existing strengths of the University in graduate education, research innovation and job creation.

©CEMS Cronin Environmental Maritime Solutions Ireland 2010