NUI Galway urged to cultivate skills

Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 01:00

MINISTER FOR Energy Pat Rabbitte has urged NUI Galway to continue producing graduates and researchers capable of driving our “economic skills in the future”.

Mr Rabbitte was in NUI Galway to deliver the opening address to a green energy symposium, which marked the official opening of the University’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research.

“It is a huge day for the university. The emphasis being put on innovation and research is critically important for the future of the country . . . for the preparation of skills for the kind of people that are needed to drive our economic skills in the future,” said the Labour Party Minister, who studied arts and law at the university.

EU commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn echoed Mr Rabbitte’s sentiments and urged Irish researchers to avail of fresh European funding.

“When I look at the calls under the Seventh Framework Programme, which were just announced yesterday [Monday] . . . so many of them play right into the hands of what’s going on at the Ryan institute,” said the commissioner. “I think there are tremendous opportunities for the professors and researchers involved here to now put their projects together and now sent in their proposals and be very successful.”

While Galway and Ireland’s geographical position lends itself to energy generation via renewable methods, Mr Rabbitte admitted we have been a little slow in reaching our full potential.

But all that could change in years to come. And with an energy export deal with Britain likely in the coming year, the Minister said Galway could benefit.

“I’m not sure you could say that we have made the most of our natural resources . . . particularly ocean wealth. From that point of view there is no better location than Galway for a research centre such as this,” he said.

“I am interested in their ongoing research into wave and tidal energy; I am obviously interested in building up our capacity for renewable energy. We have ambitious targets for 2020 in terms of our energy supply from renewables especially wind.

“We know that we have the capacity to generate a great deal more energy from renewables.”