MaREI awarded funding to address barriers to a thriving Blue Economy

An €800,000 Ocean Law and Marine Governance Research Fellowship award has been won by MaREI’s Dr. Anne Marie O’Hagan, to lead the Navigate project over the next four years. The grant enables Dr. O’Hagan to bring together an expert team to explore the legal, economic and environmental consequences of Brexit in terms of national legal obligations. In doing so it will support and enable efficient and effective governance of Irish maritime territories, helping us to attain our maritime potential.

The awarded grant was part of a raft of Marine Institute research funding, totaling €3.3 million, announced on Wednesday, by Michael Creed TD, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This funding aims to animate research in two areas deemed key to unlocking Ireland’s maritime potential – specialist marine equipment, and Ocean Law and Marine Governance. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said “We are delighted that the MaREI Centre and UCC School of Law will be collaborating on this project, which is called Navigate, and will be led and coordinated by Dr Anne Marie O’Hagan, a Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Marine and Coastal Governance Group in the MaREI Centre”. She will be supported by Dr. Tim O’Higgins, Research Fellow, MaREI; Prof. Owen McIntyre and Dr. Bjørn-Oliver Magsig in the School of Law, along with other key staff in both MaREI and the School of Law. “The Ocean Law and Marine Governance Grant marks a very important step in investing further in the area of marine law and governance”, noted Peter Heffernan, explaining that during the development of the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy, it was indicated that this important research area should be supported. Subsequently the Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Foreign Affairs were consulted and a competitive call was launched for a project-based funding grant.

The Navigate project aims to support and enable efficient and effective governance of Irish maritime territories. To achieve this overall objective, the project will explore legal, economic and environmental consequences of Brexit in terms of national legal obligations through a series of targeted case studies. Fisheries is a critical sector to focus on in this regard, particularly in terms of addressing national priorities. The Navigate team will produce a series of position papers synthesising legal and governance perspectives to provide evidence-based support to national policy makers. In recognition of the impacts of climate change, the project will identify how national and sectoral strategies for marine resources can be climate-proofed. Navigate will also ascertain the legal and procedural barriers to the development of a thriving Blue Economy, including obstacles to development of sample sectors such as offshore renewable energy, and provide recommendations to overcome such barriers. In line with commitments arising from EU and international law, Navigate will provide in-depth analysis of a representative suite of case, sector and pressure-based studies generating transferable lessons learned.

The Navigate project will generate practical impacts nationally by:

  • Enabling proactive engagement with emerging developments in marine law and governance;
  • Strengthening national capacity in marine law and ocean governance;
  • Protecting Ireland’s national interests through adaptive management;
  • Generating foresights into the legal, governance, environmental and economic implications of Brexit;
  • Enabling pragmatic responses to mitigate risks;
  • Informing national marine policy through times of uncertainty;
  • Strengthening our ability to meet EU obligations simultaneously with the objectives of national policies such as Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth;
  • Providing a solid legal and governance basis for future regional cooperation including the cross-border context.

The project is expected to start early 2018. For further information contact Anne Marie ei.ccu@nagaho.a
The link to the full press release is here