2015 GSI Geoscience Research Short Call
The 2015 Short Call closed on November 3rd with unexpectedly high interest and a large number of high quality applications received. Submissions included topics such as minerals and mining, groundwater, marine mapping, geotourism, geophysics, geochemistry, communications and outreach, public perception of geoscience, earth observation and coastal and terrestrial landslides.

Applicants were from both the public and private sector with 37% of applications from SMEs, 54% from Universities and 9% from other organisations.

29% of applications related to the Tellus programme, 29% to the INFOMAR programme and 32% to other geoscience topics.

In total, almost €1m funded 41 projects starting in January 2016.

The final report for each project was submitted in December 2016. We have withheld a small number of reports (these include sensitive information or elements of the report are currently in review for publication in academic journals and cannot be published at this time). All other reports are available through the relevant links below. The reports do not include detailed appendices or datasets that were submitted, please contact the lead researcher or GSI if you wish to access these.

Project Locations
No. 1
Lead Applicant: Dr Ulrich Ofterdinger
Host: Queen's University Belfast
Project Title: Determining fractured bedrock aquifer parameters using magnetic resonance sounding to better constrain numerical groundwater models in support of catchment scale water resource management.
Project Description: The project will investigate the relationship between key hydrogeological parameters within fractured bedrock aquifers across varying scales of observation using Magnetic Resonance Sounding in order to provide more certainty with regard to assessing groundwater flow paths and contaminant transport processes within the framework of catchment scale water resource management.
Project Report: withheld.

No. 2
Lead Applicant:
Dr Volker Rath
Host: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Project Title: Spatially constrained Bayesian inversion of frequency- and time-domain airborne electromagnetic data from the Tellus projects.
Project Description: A novel method for interpreting electromagnetic data from the Tellus surveys with 1-D layered subsurface models is developed, implemented in an open-source code, and tested on field data.Using Bayesian techniques and spatial constraints, the approach delivers uncertainty estimates of uncertainty along with preferred conductivity-depth models for each site.
Project Report:
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No. 3
Lead Applicant:
Dr Paul Doherty
Host: Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions
Project Title: Analysis and monitoring strategy of Irish landslides.
Project Description: Over the past decade landslides have received increasing attention due to a number of high profile slope failures. This project aims to extend the previous work conducted by the GSI by undertaking detailed statistical interrogation of the existing landslide database records. The most frequent landslide categories will be determined and the mechanisms linked to the landslide characteristics, including rainfall thresholds.
Project Report:
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No. 4
Lead Applicant:
Dr Mike Long
Host: University College Dublin
Project Title: 3D geological map of the pre-glacial trench central Dublin
Project Description: The project team of UCD, ARUP and TII will develop a 3D understanding of the engineering properties of granular deposits in Central Dublin pre-glacial trench. Main input will be data from the GSI database and that for Metro North. Software, developed by ARUP, will be used for the 3D models.
Project Report:
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No. 5
Lead Applicant:
Dr Max Kozachenko
Host: Geocoast
Project Title: GEOCOAST guide to the Wild Atlantic Way (A guide to coastal geology and landscapes of the While Atlantic Way)
Project Description: This project will produce a hard copy pocket guide to coastal geology and landscapes of the Wild Atlantic Way. It will include maps showing locations of places of interest, photographs and informative text treating coastal landscapes from a perspective of bedrock and Quaternary geology and environmental processes that shaped them.
Project Report:
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No. 6
Lead Applicant:
Dr Max Kozachenko
Host: Geocoast
Project Title: Development of a coastal infrastructure GIS (open source)
Project Description: This project will develop a coastal infrastructure GIS for Ireland using open source Map Server technology. GIS data and metadata will be collated, standardised and quality checked. New mapping will be performed to fill the gaps and will be based on interpretation of available aerial photographs and field visits.
Project Report:
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No. 7
Lead Applicant:
Mr Tom Davitt
Host: PGW Europe
Project Title: Integrated geological-geophysical model for stratiform Zn-Pb exploration
Project Description: This project aims to provide better insight into the localization of stratabound and fault-controlled Zn-Pb deposits in Ireland. This will be achieved by creating a new regional integrated 3D litho-structural interpretation of geophysical datasets obtained from the Tellus (and related) surveys, as well as 2D section-based models of magnetic, gravity and EM datasets.
Project Report:
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No. 8
Lead Applicant:
Dr Mark Coughlan
Host: Gaeletric
Project Title: Irish sea suitability mapping for novel offshore foundations (ISSMaNOF)
Project Description: The Irish Sea has one of Europe’s best offshore renewable energy resources. Current vagaries about the geological conditions may significantly impact offshore infrastructural development. The ISSMaNOF project aims to utilise extensive geophysical and geological data gathered by INFOMAR to generate value-added mapping products within the context of offshore foundation feasibility.
Project Report:
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No. 9
Lead Applicant:
Dr Pierre Arroucau
Host: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Project Title: Natural, man-made and induced seismicity of Ireland: discrimination and hazard
Project Description: This project will develop new tools for the detection and location of seismic events in Ireland and for discrimination between natural earhquakes and man-made events, such as quarry blasts. It will produce a new database of Irish seismicity, to be disseminated through the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) website.
Project Report:
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No. 10
Lead Applicant:
Dr Conor Cahalane
Host: Maynooth University
Project Title: Developing a rapid, low-cost bathymetric survey methodology using multiresolution imagery
Project Description: This project is a collaboration between Maynooth University and the GSI. Remote sensing image processing algorithms will be applied to multi-resolution imagery in the development of a methodology for bathymetric mapping. The suitability of imagery captured by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Light Aircraft and Satellites will be assessed in these tests.
Project Report:
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No. 11
Lead Applicant:
Prof. Laurence Gill
Host: Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: Characterisation of stable isotope fractionations during reactive transport of phosphate in groundwater discharging to a groundwater fed lake (Lough Gur, Co. Limerick)
Project Description: Lake groundwater discharge is often overlooked and the focus of this study is the novel application of phosphate (δ18OP) as a tracer of P to a groundwater fed lake. Other established isotope techniques will characterise the source of water and biogeochemical processes contributing to nutrient cycling within the lake.
Project Report:
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No. 12
Lead Applicant:
Dr Liam Morisson
Host: NUI, Galway
Project Title: Linking sources of contamination of groundwater resources with naturally occurring arsenic in metasedimentary rock in Ireland
Project Description: Elevated arsenic concentrations have been reported at certain locations around Ireland as a result of routine testing of drinking water supplies under Ireland’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) obligations. The project will investigate the origin and mobilisation of geogenic arsenic in groundwater flowing through fractured metasedimentary bedrock aquifers.
Project Report:
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No. 13
Lead Applicant:
Dr Shane Tyrrell
Host: NUI, Galway
Project Title: Linking sedimentary architecture and sediment sources in the NW Carboniferous Basin
Project Description: This project aims to utilise new provenance techniques to constrain sand supply to the Northwest Carboniferous Basin during the Carboniferous, answering questions about its evolution and palaeogeographic development. This will have potentially economically significant implications for predicting the distribution of discrete packages within the 3D architecture of the basinal system.
Project Report:
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No. 14
Lead Applicant:
Mr Ricardo Pasquali
Host: Terra Geoserv
Project Title: Irish soil thermal properties project (ISTP)
Project Description: The Irish Soil Thermal Properties Project (ISTP) will quantify the thermal properties of Irish soils and develop guidelines to estimate design parameters for ground source heating systems. A reference dataset to complement to the existing EPA/Teagasc data and facilitate the uptake of shallow geothermal energy as well as civil engineering applications.
Project Report:
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No. 15
Lead Applicant:
Mr Ronan O'Toole
Host: Greenlight Surveys
Project Title: UAV for intertidal and coastal zone mapping feasibility study
Project Description: Recent advances in UAV technology, mean that a novel approach for addressing coastal and intertidal zone mapping may now be feasible. This short call project aims to determine the feasibility of using UAVs for coastal mapping and will address the operational parameters and procedures, processing techniques and regulatory issues which must be constrained prior to deployment of this technology in a dedicated coastal mapping role.
Project Report:
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No. 16
Lead Applicant:
Mr Gearoid O'Riain
Host: Compass Infomatics
Project Title: Development of a coastal infrastructure web GIS with remote sensing focus
Project Description: The project will deliver an open-source WebGIS that will reuse existing tools in use in Compass Informatics and in geoscience organisations. This will be populated with coastal infrastructure data and remote sensing imagery including Sentinel data, along with selected imagery analysis data products.
Project Report:
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No. 17
Lead Applicant:
Dr James Riordan
Host: Sonarsim
Project Title: A hydrography training program demonstrator
Project Description: This project will leverage SonarSim’s existing Hydrographic Survey Simulation infrastructure to create the learning content for a small-scale programme demonstrator which will showcase our innovative task based approach to competency based training. The long term strategic objective is the establishment of an Irish Centre of Excellence in Hydrography Training.
Project Report:
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No. 18
Lead Applicant:
Dr Luke Prendergast
Host: University College Dublin
Project Title: Feasibility of offshore energy converters in Irish Sea (FORCE)
Project Description: This project aims to conduct a feasibility study into the use of large-diameter monopiles as foundations for offshore wind turbines in deep water areas of the Irish Sea. A range of structural limit states will be assessed and an envelope of feasible foundation solutions will be generated.
Project withdrawn

No. 19
Lead Applicant:
Dr Aggeliki Georgiopoulou
Host: University College Dublin
Project Title: Frequency of slope collapses on Rockall Bank and mechanical characterisation of the sediments
Project Description: This project seeks to understand what makes the sediments at the eastern slope of Rockall Bank so prone to instability and also how frequent these slide events are. A set of sediment cores, collected during the SORBEH expedition from water depths of 700-2000m, are going to be used.
Project Report:
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No. 20
Lead Applicant:
Dr Colman Gallagher
Host: University College Dublin
Project Title: Quantifying coastal evolution along Donegal Bay system using remote sensing approaches
Project Description: This project examines the impacts of changing sediment supply, rising sea level and climate change on coastal dune stability, determining relationships between shoreline change rates, beach/dune morphodynamics and near-shore/offshore sediment availability and pathways in Donegal Bay. The research pilots the possible development of an integrated national-scale model of coastal change.
Project Report:
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No. 21
Lead Applicant:
Dr Mark Holdstock
Host: Aurum Exploration
Project Title: Using Tellus electromagnetic and geochemical datasets to improve soil mapping in Ireland
Project Description: The aim of this work is to classify Irish soil types based on their geochemical and geophysical characteristics. Working with GSI staff, our research will directly compare output from the airborne geophysical and ground geochemical components of the recent Tellus Border and Tellus North Midlands surveys with published geological information.
Project Report:
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No. 22
Lead Applicant:
Prof. Debra Laefer
Host: University College Dublin
Project Title: Coastal modelling through low-cost video-based photogrammetry
Project Description: Coastal modelling through low-cost video-based photogrammetry will develop a rapid, low-cost means to monitor changes along coastal areas and river networks. The overall goal is to develop an online system for submitting video imagery that is then processed as a series of still images for improved documentation.
Project Report:
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No. 23
Lead Applicant:
Mr Coran Kelly
Host: Tobin Consulting
Project Title: Production of a handbook of karst for Irish hydrogeologists
Project Description: The compilation of a guide to the main characteristics of the hydrogeology of karstified limestone and how best to investigate groundwater in karst, with particular regard to Ireland. It will be of use primarily, to practicing hydrogeologists and allied specialists who lack formal training in karst hydrogeology but who may be required to undertake work in karst.
Project Report:
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No. 24
Lead Applicant:
Dr Mark Cooper
Host: Geological Survey of Northern Ireland
Project Title: An All-Ireland quaternary map
Project Description: This project aims to produce an All-Ireland Quaternary map at 1:500,000 scale using data from the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and the BRITICE project. These will be available as a seamless digital data set composed of 17 sediment types and 4 geomorphological features.
Project Report:
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No. 25
Lead Applicant:
Mr Mark Holdstock
Host: Aurum Exploration
Project Title: Characterisation of mining waste
Project Description: Secondary Raw Materials form a significant pillar in the sustainability of Europe’s access to both critical and non-critical raw materials. Mine waste has been earmarked as a valuable potential source of such materials. The project will analyse samples of mine waste from sites across Ireland, to assess their economic potential.
Project Report:
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No. 26
Lead Applicant:
Dr Giulio Solferino
Host: University College Cork
Project Title: The geochemistry of Waterford Copper Coast mineralisation
Project Description: This project aims to characterize Waterford copper mineralisation employing cutting-edge field and geochemical analytical methods. The genesis of the copper deposit will be explained and the ore classified following current EU Economic Geology designations. Moreover, the research outcomes will enhance the Copper Coast Geopark initiative.
Project Report:
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No. 27
Lead Applicant:
Prof. Dan Toal
Host: University of Limerick
Project Title: Unmanned surface vehicle for inshore bathymetric survey
Project Description: This project addresses the need of GSI to carry out seabed survey in in-shore shallow areas, which cannot readily be completed with normal survey vessel because of draft / safety concerns. The project will develop a USV control system to enable (semi) autonomous operation of survey in these shallows.
Project Report:
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No. 28
Lead Applicant:
Prof. Dan Toal
Host: University of Limerick
Project Title: Semi-autonomous UAV landing in challenging conditions
Project Description: This project deals with UAV landing in Challenging Condition” and is focused on the development of pilot support tools for operations of take-off and landing from a moving platform. The goal is to develop a reliable control platform to aid the pilot and to provide a level semi-autonomous operation.
Project Report:
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No. 29
Lead Applicant:
Dr Kirstin Lemon
Host: Geological Survey of Northern Ireland
Project Title: All-Ireland karst features dataset
Project Description: This project will extend the GSI Karst Features dataset north to produce an all-Ireland dataset so that the full extent of Irish karst can be properly visualised and appreciated. It will assess the viability of spatial dataset interpretation to identify karst features combined with ground truthing verification across two sites.
Project Report:
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No. 30
Lead Applicant:
Dr Audrey Morley
Host: NUI, Galway
Project Title: Deposition and accumulation of microplastics and pollutants in marine sediments from the Irish continental shelf
Project Description: The Shannon delivers a high sediment load west of the Aaran Islands, providing habitat for Nephrops but also sources of pollution including microplastics and heavy metals. Here we are developing a method to identify microplastics and heavy metals deposited in marine sediments for an economically and ecologically important fishing ground.
Project Report:
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No. 31
Lead Applicant:
Mr Mark Holdstock
Host: Aurum Exploration
Project Title: Mineral propsectivity; analysis utilising publically available datasets and free & open source software
Project Description: This project will show that the availability of quality public datasets allows effective prospectivity analyses, using only free data and free/open source software. By limiting the costs associated with developing targets for mineral exploration, the research will show how free data sources can help stimulate exploration and promote inward investment.
Project Report: withheld

No. 32
Lead Applicant:
Dr Quentin Crowley
Host: Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: Assessing marine and anthropogenic influences on the terrestrial biosphere strontium isotope budget
Project Description: This project aims to characterise modifications of soil chemistry due to marine and agriculturally-derived influxes. Tellus geochemical data will be used to identify deviations from expected trends. Additional samples will be selected for strontium isotope analysis, resulting in a more accurate estimate of geochemical fluxes in the contemporary Irish biosphere.
Project Report:
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No. 33
Lead Applicant:
Dr Mary Bourke
Host: Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: Investigation of Ireland's coastal platforms: location, type and coastal protection
Project Description: Shore platforms are a significant component of Ireland’s coastal systems and have the potential to buffer coasts from storm wave hazards. This project will map the distribution of shore platforms and conduct a pilot study to investigate the role that platforms have in the effective attenuation of wave energy.
Project Report:
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No. 34
Lead Applicant:
Dr Damaris Fernandez
Host: Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: u-TOPS: microscale toolbox and protocols for sulphides studies
Project Description: This project addresses the general question of resource efficiency in the minerals sector. It aims at developing a chemical and mineralogical toolbox that will help to translate analytical information from the sub-micron and micron-scale to macro and mega-sized samples. This will be achieved by applying statistical models combined with high-end microscopy and surface science analysis.
Project Report: withheld

No. 35
Lead Applicant:
Mr Derek Reay
Host: Geological Survey of Northern Ireland
Project Title: Geochemical anomaly detection: spatial analysis for improved use of geochemical data
Project Description: This project will compare two mathematical methods to detect geochemical anomalies. The first uses singularity theory, based on fractal models of variation. The second uses a robust geostatistical model to identify observations that contrast with background. This will facilitate novel use of Tellus data for mineral exploration and resource assessment.
Project Report:
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No. 36
Lead Applicant:
Mr Gavin Duffy
Host: Realsim
Project Title: 3D simulation of Ireland 'Ancient East' marine environment
Project Description: RealSim will build an interactive 3d simulation of Irelands 'Ancient East' seabed and adjacent coastline stretching from Carlingford Lough to Waterford Harbour. The simulated environment will be populated with some of the worlds oldest lighthouses and numerous shipwrecks from WW I. The projects intention is to bring awareness to Ireland's rich marine heritage.
Project Report:
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No. 37
Lead Applicant:
Mr Ricardo Pasquali
Host: Terra Geoserv
Project Title: Integrated interpretation and modelling of tellus aeromagnetic, gravity, radiometric and multispectral analysis of satellite imagery datasets for exploration and identification of deep geothermal target areas in the midland valley terrane (DeepGeo)
Project Description: The DeepGeo project aims to develop a new holistic deep geothermal model to identify potential targets in the Midlands Terrain using geophysical data. The project will integrate the Tellus Midland datasets with historical mineral exploration data, Bouguer gravity data combined with spectral analysis of satellite imagery from the selected targets.
Project Report:
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No. 38
Lead Applicant:
Dr Sara Benetti
Host: University of Ulster
Project Title: Past and modern environments of Galway Bay (GB-ENV)
Project Description: A multi-disciplinary investigation into the elements that have shaped Galway Bay since the last glaciation to present day. Sedimentological and geophysical data will be combined to produce geomorphological and stratigraphic maps; sediment cores will provide specific clues on how the sedimentary and oceanic processes have altered the bay over time.
Project Report:
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No. 39
Lead Applicant:
Dr Helen Roe
Host: Queen's University Belfast
Project Title: Development of integrated protocols for the rapid mapping and assessment of metal contamination in intertidal and supratidal environments
Project Description: This project aims to develop new methodologies to aid in the rapid mapping and assessment of metal contaminants in intertidal and supratidal environments. The study will employ multidisciplinary approaches that will utilise ITRAX-core scanning, intertidal foraminifera, a group of protozoans that are sensitive to metal contamination, and Tellus geochemistry data.
Project Report: withheld

No. 40
Lead Applicant:
Dr Mary Bourke
Host: Trinity College Dublin
Project Title: Innovative approaches to identifying and mapping coastal landslides
Project Description: Landslide data bases are required for the assessment of susceptibility and understanding of risk. Landslide inventories are a time- and resource-intensive activity. This project will explore the use of machine learning algorithms and drone technology to enable a more accurate mapping and inventory-building capability for coastal landslides.
Project Report:
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No. 41
Lead Applicant:
Prof. Dermot Diamond
Host: Dublin City University
Project Title: Mapping the spatial and temporal variations of water quality in Dublin Bay
Project Description: This project aims to generate real-time information on water column variables occurring in Dublin Bay using in-situ sensor measurements. Data generated will be used in tandem with remote (including satellite) sensing data that will ultimately provide the information to inform predictive models on events happening within the water body.
Project Report: withheld