MaREI’s Professor Frederic Dias inducted into Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Dias, an applied mathematician at University College Dublin (UCD) and a global leader in fluid dynamics research, has been elected a foreign member of the prestigious Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

St Columbas Girls National School Win ‘Best Overall Project’ in the Port of Cork Schools Initiative 2019

Port of Cork Chairman, Mr. John Mullins congratulated St Columbas Girls National School for being awarded ‘Best Overall Project’ in the Port of Cork Schools Initiative 2019. Scoil Barra Naofa, Monkstown were given special recognition for their outstanding level of research and content used in their project.

The Port of Cork have been running their primary schools initiative for 13 years now and 2019 was the first year that Port of Cork teamed up with MaREI, the UCC research Centre for marine and renewable energy based in Ringaskiddy, to deliver this educational initiative around marine litter.

St Columbas Girls National School’s ‘Plastic Monster’

Themed ‘Maintaining a Healthy Harbour’ the initiative educated school children on marine litter and the detrimental effects it can have on our oceans, harbour and shorelines. Over twenty schools took part and with the help of MaREI, classes were encouraged to collect and use marine litter and recycled items to create a 3D art project that makes people stop and think.

John Mullins said: ‘All the schools that participated in this year’s initiative can feel proud of their efforts as the projects submitted were incredibly visual and would certainly make people stop and think about the effects of marine litter.’

He told the children they are our future and said: ‘It is the younger generation, like yourselves that will make the difference and you are an inspiration for us all.’

The Port of Cork were joined by Aoife Deane from MaREI and Susan Vickers from Clean Coasts who both judged the projects.

Researchers estimate that over 10 million tonnes of litter ends up in the world’s oceans each year and 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals (seals, whales, dolphins) die every year because of marine litter through entanglement or ingestion. There is a growing public awareness of the issue, and with almost half of all marine litter being made up of just 10 types of single-use plastic items, we can take steps to tackle the problem.

Port of Cork Chairman John Mullins reminded all participating classes that as well as receiving a certificate of participation, every class will be treated to a high speed, fun filled boat trip around Cork Harbour, compliments of the Port of Cork. As an extra special prize, best overall winners St Columbas Girls National School will go on board a cruise liner in May for a tour of the ship.

All school projects are currently on display at the Cobh Maritime Building, located on the platform at Cobh Railway Station until the end of May.

As part of Cork Harbour Festival and Seafest the projects will be on display to the public in Custom House, Cork City from 1st – 9th June 2019

Frederic Dias Awarded €2.5 million in ERC Funding to Develop more Accurate Models for Breaking Ocean Waves

MaREI’s Professor Frederic Dias, an applied mathematician at University College Dublin (UCD), and a global leader in fluid dynamics research has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant of €2.5 million.

He has received the funding for a study focused on improving our understanding of the physics and dynamics of breaking ocean waves to develop more accurate operational wave models.

Such models could help to improve wave forecasting models, improve criteria for the design of ships and coastal and offshore infrastructures, help to quantify seabed erosion by powerful breaking waves and quantify air-sea gas transfer. The ability to quantify CO2 transfer velocities is key to predicting future climate.

Professor Dias was previously awarded an ERC Advanced Grant in 2011 and is among only three Ireland-based researchers to be awarded a second Advanced Grant. The first researcher in Ireland to be awarded a second ERC Advanced Grant was geneticist Professor Kenneth Wolfe, who is also based at UCD.

Professor Dias, who is a researcher in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics and in the UCD Earth Institute, has received this latest ERC funding for a 5-year study, entitled, ‘HIGHWAVE – Breaking of highly energetic waves.’.

Professor Dias is also a principal investigator with MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and holds a position at Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay, France.

The funding will result in the establishment of 6 new research positions (PhD students and post-doc researchers) at the University.

A central element of the work builds on recent international developments in the field of wave breaking by Professor Dias that provide the first universal criterion for predicting the onset of breaking waves in uniform water depths from deep to intermediate.

Professor Frederic Dias said, “I am thrilled to receive this ERC Advanced Grant which will allow me and my team to further explore fundamental open questions in the field of wave breaking. Our goal at the end of this study is to develop more accurate operational wave models and to better parameterise CO2 transfer velocities by taking into account sea states and not only wind speed.”

“Such models will have practical and economic benefits such as improving sea state forecasting; evaluating seabed response to extreme waves, determining structural loads on ships and offshore infrastrutures and optimising operational strategies for maritime and marine renewable energy enterprises.”

He added, ”The funding will also enable me to build an interdisciplinary team of talented post-docs and PhD students in areas such as coastal and ocean engineering, earth system science, statistics, and fluid dynamics.”

Professor Dias is one of 222 top researchers and scientists from across Europe, who between them will receive ERC Advanced Grants worth a total of €540 million, as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. This funding will give recipients the opportunity to build up their teams and have far-reaching impact.

ERC Advanced Grants are awarded under the ‘excellent science pillar’ of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme. Awardees are exceptional leaders in their field with track records of significant research achievements in the last ten years.

The ERC evaluated 2,052 research proposals in this latest competition, almost 11% of which were selected for funding. The grantees will carry out their projects at universities and research centres in 20 countries across Europe. The grants could lead to the creation of an estimated 2,000 new jobs for postdocs, PhD students and other staff working in the grantees’ research teams.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation, and Impact said, “I would like to congratulate Professor Dias on receiving his second ERC Advanced Grant. His success for a second time in this prestigious and highly competitive Europe-wide funding call indicates the quality of the world-class fluid dynamics research which he and his team are carrying out at UCD and I wish them continued success.”

“The ERC Advanced Grants fund well-established research leaders with internationally renowned track records. Only three Ireland-based researchers have now been successful in securing a second ERC Advanced Grant and two of them, Professor Kenneth Wolfe and Professor Dias are based at UCD. This signifies the strength of the research taking place at our University.”

Carlos Moedas, European  Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “The ERC  Advanced Grants back outstanding researchers throughout Europe. Their pioneering work has the potential to make a difference in people’s everyday life and deliver solutions to some of our most urgent challenges.  The  ERC  gives  these bright minds the possibility to follow their most creative ideas and  to play a decisive role in the advancement of all domains of knowledge”

The President of the European Research Council Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said, “Since 2007,  the European Research Council has attracted and financed some of the most audacious research proposals, and independent evaluations show that this approach has paid off.  With this call, another 222 researchers from all over Europe and beyond will pursue their best ideas and are  in an excellent position to trigger breakthroughs and  major scientific advances.”

He added, “Had the ERC budget been higher, more brilliant ideas could have been supported in Europe. I hope that the next EU framework programme for research, Horizon Europe, will make this possible. There  is certainly more room at the top.”

Further details on the latest ERC Advanced Grant Awards are available via

Royal Cork Claims the Inaugural Sustainability Award at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards

At Volvo Cork Week 2018 the Club attained the Gold Certification from the International ‘Sailors for the Sea’ Clean Regatta programme with the event sustainability partners MaREI and An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme

Marine Energy Alliance

The Marine Energy Alliance (MEA) is a 4 year European Territorial Cooperation project running from May 2018 to May 2022. The project has a total budget of €6 million and is financially supported by Interreg North West Europe, who provides €3.6 million of ERDF funding.

The aim of MEA is to progress the technical and commercial maturity level of early-stage (TRL 3 – 4) marine energy technology companies with the overall goal of reducing the risk of device failure in subsequent demonstration phases.

Via MEA, selected marine energy technology companies are able to receive a suite of tailored expert services that will enable them to realise their ambitions and, more broadly, contribute to the coherent growth of the marine energy industry in general.

Through participation in MEA, companies will gain access to the project partners’ world-leading expertise in marine energy development. Awarded companies will have the chance to work closely together with a transnational team of marine energy experts on both the technical advancement of their technology, as well as the development of their commercial strategy and business plans. Each service offer is intended to put the company’s technology and business firmly on the road towards successful commercialisation.


2-Stage application process

Access to the MEA Service Offer is awarded to companies via a two-Stage application process. The first Stage of the application process requests the applicant to submit an online Expression of Interest. The online Expression of Interest should be completed and submitted via the MEA project website. Successful applicants passing the first Stage are invited to take part in the second Stage of the application process. This Stage involves a 30-minute remote (online) interaction involving a brief pitch (5 – 10 minutes) followed by a Q&A session conducted by representatives of the MEA partnership.

Applications are evaluated using eligibility criteria and qualitative criteria. Applicants should ensure to familiarise themselves with the information in the Guidance Document before submitting their Expression of Interest.


Timeline for the first Call for Applications

The first Call for Applications is open until Friday 15 February 2019 at 17:00 (CET). Any applications received after that exact date and time will not be considered eligible. Successful applicants passing Stage 1 are informed on the 1st of March 2019 and will be instructed to prepare for their pitch and Q&A in Stage 2. An indication of the timelines is given below:



Remaining questions not answered in the FAQ and Guidance Document can be directed to

A webinar will be organised mid-January 2019 to introduce the project and the first Call for Applications. The exact date and time will be published on this website and our social media pages early January 2019.



Project MEA is part of one of 14 European transnational cooperation programs developed with the goal of making northwestern Europe a key economic player with high level of innovation, sustainability and cohesion.

The project partners include Dutch Marine Energy Center (DMEC), European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI), Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Exceedence, INNOSEA, Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, the University of Edinburgh, and communications partner Navingo.

They will work jointly to deliver integrated technical and commercial services, tailored to the needs of 40 companies yet to receive the support, in order to reduce the risk in the subsequent demonstration phases for their technologies.

Rare Beluga whale, mainly an Arctic species, found off Irish coast

Article via the Irish Times


A three-year survey which included recording the sounds of whales, dolphins and porpoises deep in marine waters off the Irish coast has generated a vast amount of new detail about their numbers, seasonal habits and where they frequent.

The survey “has provided the first insights into rare and illusive species that spend nearly their entire life underwater at great depths,” according to the scientists involved.

It included an aerial survey of vast areas around the Irish coast and out into the Atlantic Ocean, which also recorded sightings of seabirds.

The acoustic survey was led by a team of scientists at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, while an international team led by researchers at University College Cork conducted the aerial survey.

At least three species of beaked whales were recorded and little is known about these deep-diving offshore species. Endangered Blue whales were also detected, even when they were up to 200km away, using recording devices placed in seas off the west coast.

Strong seasonal patterns in their sounds were noted and described – they vocalise more coinciding with breeding season.

A total of 20 species of whales, dolphin and porpoises were recorded, analysed and mapped while almost 2,200 aerial sightings were confirmed by the ObSERVE Programme.

Some 380 Sperm whales were found using acoustic detection and tracking methods. The Beluga (white) whale was also recorded, though it is mainly an Arctic species.

Minke whales were most frequently observed, while there were abundant baleen whales – about 12,000 in summer and 5,000 in winter.

West coast

The €2.7 million project was commissioned by the Government to enhance knowledge and understanding of protected species and sensitive habitats offshore covering the Irish Atlantic Margin, deep waters off the west coast that is nearly 1½ times the area of the UK, the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea.

Considerable variation was found in the distribution, abundance and movements of dolphin species. Bottlenose dolphins were much more abundant during winter than summer, with densities in the winter of 2016-2017 being among the highest ever recorded.

Aerial surveys highlighted the importance of the Irish Atlantic Margin for seabirds with almost half a million seabirds located within the study area: during both summer and winter 10,000 sightings of seabirds were recorded, representing 24 species.

In the western Irish Sea an estimated 100,000 birds were present in summer, 90,000 in winter, with migrating seabirds boosting these estimates to 300,000 in the autumn.

Dr Mark Jessopp of UCC said the aerial programme was particularly ambitious and logistically challenging, but has provided essential information on the distribution of cetaceans (the collective name for whales, dolphins and porpoises) in summer and winter over two consecutive years.

“This is the first time we have been able to get robust estimates of cetacean abundance in winter and seabird abundance at sea essential to inform management and conservation of populations,” he added.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, co-ordinated the project, which will inform environmental evaluations of offshore oil and exploration projects; the laying of underwater cables and offshore wind developments.

€300k allocated in Government funding to empower Community Groups in Renewable Energy Projects

The goal is to empower communities and catalyse a new generation of community-owned energy developments

Would you pack just one set of clothes for a two-week holiday? Of course not.

A great Opinion Piece from MaREI researcher Seán Collins on how Europe could thrive on green energy.

“Would you pack just one set of clothes for a two-week holiday? Of course not, because the future is uncertain and it’s important to plan appropriately to ensure the best possible outcome.

It’s only right you wouldn’t plan an electricity system based on a single year’s weather data, you’d use long-term data to make sure that system planned is reliable and fit for purpose”

You can download a PDF of the article here:Evening Echo 30.8.18 Sean Collins


MaREI researchers to lead Work Package on project OPERA

RRI Global Network kick-off meeting at MaREI

Joining forces to bring Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) into the linked up global world to promote mutual learning and collaboration in RRI

MaREI Researcher wins SFI Research Image of the Year

MaREI’s Dr Mark Jessopp won SFI Research Image of the Year at the SFI Science Summit 2017 for his arresting image ‘Osmotic Shock’…

Joseph Coleman on Pint of Science Limerick 2017

Pint of Science Limerick

MaREI researcher, Joseph Coleman, from the University of Limerick, participated in the Pint of Science Limerick event, bringing science and engineering closer to general public.

MaREI Newsletter July Edition Now Available

Catch up with the latest news, blogs, industry features and event reports from MaREI.

MaREI’s Tony Lewis honoured with distinguished award

French Ambassador Honours ‘Father of Ocean Energy’ Professor Tony Lewis with Chevalier des Palmes Académiques…