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MIC academic awarded €300,000 to investigate Climate-neutral and Sustainable Practices for Irish Coastal and Marine Communities

A Mary Immaculate College (MIC) academic has been awarded €300,000 in funding to lead the Irish stage of a European project aiming to boost the transformation towards a climate neutral, sustainable, productive and competitive ‘Blue Economy’.

Dr John Morrissey, Lecturer in Geography at MIC, will lead the Irish research element of Aquabalance, a project under the European Union’s Blue Economy Partnership programme. The research, which has received €1.3 million between partner researchers in Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Italy, will run for three years. 

The project funding comes at a time when the EU is trying to encourage discourse around Blue Economies—coastal and marine communities—as new economic space, as Dr Morrisey explains: 

“Our economic priorities in Ireland often don’t reflect that we are an island nation. There’s huge potential in the likes of off-shore wind and the rejuvenation of coastal communities and this project will look at new ways of thinking about and designing models for aquaculture in regional contexts. For example, how can a community have salmon farms that benefit the local area, do not harm the environment and fundamentally benefit everyone? 

“In particular, Aquabalance will focus on the sustainable development challenges of aquaculture in Europe, contributing to the goals of the EU Farm to Fork strategy and tackling the grand challenges of climate change and social justice. This project takes a multi-national and transdisciplinary approach to understanding emerging Blue Economies, focusing in particular on dilemmas associated with rebalancing the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability. 

“Our research strengths in the Arts and Humanities in MIC will provide valuable social science-based insights to complement the engineering, economics and innovation studies expertise of our European project partners. It is an exciting project which will provide essential direction to European policy makers to plan sustainable Blue Economies for the future.”

According to Professor Natalia Maehle, Aquabalance Project Coordinator: “This is a cutting-edge project that will provide the aquaculture industry and stakeholders with a wide range of new knowledge and evidence-based recommendations to ensure its social legitimacy and sustainability.”

There will be a three-year funded PhD and a postdoctoral research contract for two years also included in the funding.

You can find out more about Aquabalance by clicking here