The Beaufort Research Laboratory at University College Cork (UCC) will take to the high seas on Thursday 18 October at 1pm for its official launch aboard the Irish Naval Vessel L.É. Róisín. It heralds a wave of multi-disciplinary research and knowledge transfer that will unlock sustainable resource development and innovation in the maritime and energy field.
This exciting event coincides with the 4th International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) taking place from 17-19 October at Dublin’s Convention Centre. Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick, Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science (SEFS) at UCC, and Professor Tony Lewis, Director of Beaufort Research at UCC, will address the launch. Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine will also be in attendance.
As a vital source of electricity and employment over the next decade, the promise of marine renewable energy cannot be overstated. Beaufort Research combines the excellent track record of the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC), the Coastal and Marine Research Centre (CMRC) and the Sustainable Energy Research Group (SERG) at UCC in this field. As the keystone research facility within the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC) at Ringaskiddy, Cork, Beaufort Laboratory will house these leading research centres. This represents UCC’s on-going commitment to the development of IMERC.
Beaufort Research will also contribute significantly to employment in the sector, with 135 research positions made available in the new facility, representing an increase of 60 positions. It is estimated that as many as 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project, which is due to begin December 2012.
HMRC, CMRC and SERG have been successful in securing research projects from the European Commission FP7 programme, with projects worth €7.5 million in progress. The combined FP7 projects in the CMRC and HMRC represent the majority of marine related research income for Ireland. Professor Lewis received an award in the recent Ireland’s Champions of EU Research event presented by President Higgins.
Other current research funding includes €3.47 million under the Charles Parsons Research Programme for research into ocean energy by the HMRC. The CMRC recently received €1.8 million under the Beaufort Research Programme for marine research and a further €850,000 under the Griffith Programme. Anchored within such research excellence is a strong track record in supporting industry, with a number of projects worth a total value of €900,000 underway, serving both multinational and Irish SME companies.
The €14 million Beaufort Laboratory construction is funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Bord Gáis Energy (BGE), on a site provided by the Industrial Development Agency (IDA). Recurrent funding has also been provided by HEA, BGE and the Glucksman Foundation.
The facilities at the 4700m2 Beaufort Laboratory include the National Ocean Energy Test Facility, incubation suites for industry and offices and associated facilities for the multi-disciplinary researchers. Adjacent to the National Maritime College, it will form UCC’s physical presence within the IMERC cluster which has the potential to provide research and development support across the emerging maritime economy in Ireland. The marine renewable energy sector has recently been identified by FORFÁS, the policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation, as one of the 14 priority research areas for Ireland. Through this strategic investment, UCC aims to harness the extensive expertise it has in this priority area and provide support for the marine renewable industry. This will release the huge energy potential currently locked in our waters for the benefit of the Irish economy.
A light lunch on the bridge of the vessel will follow the launch. Contact Georgina Foley, Business Development Manager, Beaufort Laboratory (Georgina.Foley@ucc.ie) or see www.beaufortresearch.ie for further information