Defining Geoscience Priorities
A process to identify and establish key geoscience objectives and priorities for the next five years is underway. This process, which is being led by the Royal Irish Academy, GSI and GSNI, seeks to consult stakeholders on a wide range of geoscience priorities from energy, climate change, marine, mineral resources, hazards and water supplies.

Seminars in Stormont in June 2008 (Geoscience - The Foundation of our Future) and in Dublin in December 2008 (Geoscience - Building the Future) have helped define these priorities. A summary of the Geoscience - Building the Future seminar is available here.

In July 2008, Minister Killeen launched the study 'GEOSCIENCE: Gaining Ground'.  A report on the contribution of the Geoscience sector to the Irish economy, conducted by consultants CSA. The Geoscience sector, worth €4billion to the economy, has an enormous impact on the quality and standard of living, and as such is an essential element of economic policy and spatial planning. PDF download available here.

In January 2010 a strategic document based on these seminars and additional workshops was published as an outcome of the process.  It considers how geoscience can contribute well to the creation of a smarter economy.  Click here for more details and to download the report.

Views on these documents (as well as more generally on the overall process) are welcome and as soon as possible. Please email them to v.carswell@ria.ie , gearls@bgs.ac.uk or koen.verbruggen@gsi.ie .

The Geoscience Sector

Oil rigThe Geoscience sector comprises the providers of geoscience-based commodities, services, research and education, together with their customers and stakeholders. Geoscience-based industry (mining, quarrying, offshore gas, groundwater supplies, and peat extraction) is worth over €2 billion annually to the Irish economy, while geoscience services (mapping, consultancy and contracting) generate €130M turnover annually with 1,000 employees. State bodies have an aggregate geoscience budget of about €32M/yr, and they and the third level sector have a combined annual research income of €11.5M.

Geosciences funding in the NDP
Geosciences were mentioned for the first time in the recent National Development Plan (NDP 2007 – 2013) announced in January. The Geoscience Sub-Programme appears under the Enterprise, Science and Innovation Priority of the Plan. The GSI will play a key role in the delivery of these projects. The Plan represents funding of €33 million in Geosciences over the seven-year lifetime of the NDP. Here below we replicate the relevant text from the Plan.

landslide!Geoscience Sub-Programme

Some €33 million will be invested under this Sub-Programme in research that impacts on a number of Government priority areas including Energy, Marine, Environment and Transport. Geoscience knowledge is critical to environmental protection and investment planning. Applications include protecting the quality of groundwater, developing strategies to cope with climate change, securing new indigenous sources of energy and the optimal planning of motorways.

Sand waves Dublin bayINFOMAR Project

This is the successor programme to the Irish National Seabed Survey. The benefits arising from this survey will place Ireland at a competitive advantage in relation to leveraging international funding for offshore energy exploration, including offshore hydrocarbons, aggregates and renewable energy sources and the siting of a deep sea observatory in Irish waters. More about INFOMAR...

Airborne surveysResource and Environmental Survey of Ireland (RESI) Project
The Resource and Environmental Survey of Ireland (RESI) Project will provide, for the first time, an integrated national baseline survey of Ireland using state of the art airborne geophysical surveying techniques complemented by ground geochemical surveys. This survey data will underpin the assessment of environmental status that assists in the discovery of new mineral and aggregate resources, that help delineate new groundwater resources and inform planning authorities on issues relating to water quality and geo-hazards potential (radon risk, subsidence, landslides etc.). More about RESI...

Dublin Port tunnelInfrastructure Support Project

Historically, Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) have carried out a number of projects, principally for Local Authorities and other Government agencies, to support infrastructural development. Instead of developing as piecemeal coverage, a co-ordinated national study will be carried out to provide a full suite of products to support infrastructural development.

Listening to whales!Geoscience RTDI

A Geoscience Strategy for Ireland (32 County) is in preparation under the auspices of GSI guided by the Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy. In order to develop what is still an embryonic research sector, funding is provided over the life of the NDP to underpin strategic research in a number of key areas. A geoscience graduate programme, incorporating island-wide networked teaching resources, as well as additional research infrastructure, is designed to support this initiative.

Two important initiatives that support the implementation of these NDP objectives are:

National Geoscience Programme 2007 - 2013
Griffith Geoscience Research Awards