PLOCAN and the Marine Institute collaborate on the Eoin Sweeney Scholarship Programme

The Marine Institute and PLOCAN collaborate on the development of the first two Eoin Sweeney PhD Scholarships, which are funded with €0.24 million, to run over the next four years.

This Scholarship Programme has been established by the Marine Institute and PLOCAN in memory of Eoin Sweeney (1947-2017), who made a significant contribution to developing the Irish marine industry, particularly the ocean energy sector, including the formation of test-bed sites off the west coast of Ireland that provide sea-state testing opportunities for researchers and technology developers.

One of the scholarships will address the ‘Application of AUVs to studies on Diel cycles of ocean plankton and biogeochemistry in the Northeast Atlantic’ and will be led by the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUI Galway), while the second scholarship will focus on the ‘Wave-powered data buoy’ and will be led by Maynooth University. The students are expected to have commenced by July 2021, with their first visit to PLOCAN expected to take place in 2022 (dependent on easing of the current Covid-19 travel restrictions).

The scholarships will address a research challenge associated with advanced ocean technology development and/or ocean observing systems, with components of the proposed research conducted both at an Irish HEI and at PLOCAN, making use of test-bed and demonstration facilities in Ireland and Spain.

This Scholarship Programme provides a unique training opportunity for the students using the state-of-the-art scientific facilities at the Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN) in Gran Canaria, Spain. The students will also benefit from access to the Marine Institute historical datasets, equipment and infrastructures including access to the national marine research vessels.

Dr. José Joaquín Hernández-Brito, director of PLOCAN, highlighted that “PLOCAN is delighted to collaborate with colleagues in Ireland on this Scholarship Programme. We are looking forward to hosting the students in due course, and wish to strengthen our existing research networks between Spain and Ireland together with exploring opportunities for future co-operation in ocean observation.”

Funding for the Eoin Sweeney Scholarship Programme is provided by the Marine Institute and the Irish Government, funded under the Marine Research Programme. PLOCAN will provide support and host the scholars for two to three months per annum.

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