7 December 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Ireland faces significant challenges to meet EU targets and global agreements in relation to energy, climate change, biodiversity and sustainability. Many of these challenges also represent commercial opportunities for Irish businesses in the coming years to develop new technologies and services to help us transition to a zero carbon and resource efficient society. The Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork launched its new Strategic Plan 2018-2022 today (Monday) and has a commitment of over €44 M investment in environmental research projects in the coming 3 years.
Positioned at the forefront of environmental and sustainability research in Ireland, more than 300 researchers are currently engaged in ERI projects that are driving the organisation’s agenda to address climate change, support the development of a circular economy, and maintain a healthy environment. Drawing from a team of interdisciplinary experts in environmental, energy, sustainable food, marine and sustainable materials research across University College Cork’s schools and departments as well as affiliated research centres, the ERI’s strategy for 2018 to 2022 aims to provide the necessary research and knowledge base to address our current environmental challenges.
Speaking at the launch of the ERI Strategic Plan, ERI Director Professor Sarah Culloty said, “Our economies are approaching ecological limits, and we are already experiencing some of the constraints of operating outside planetary boundaries in areas such as climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion. We need to find new ways to reconcile our high levels of human development with environmental sustainability. Research holds the key to unlocking these major problems in very informed, practical and comprehensive ways, and we see the ERI playing a critical role in this regard. A key element of the strategic plan is working in partnership with local government, policy makers, civic society organisations and the public to co-create solutions that will ensure that our natural environment can be used sustainably to meet all our needs while providing a healthy living space.”
“We are excited about a number of flagship projects at UCC’s ERI,” said Prof. Anita Maguire, Vice President for Research & Innovation at UCC. “From wave energy devices, to production of high-value materials and energy from waste, to protecting the quality of the air in our cities and towns, to working with the United Nations to develop training programmes to assess water quality, the ERI is building capacity in Ireland to address the many environmental challenges we currently face.”
The ERI Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022 outlines a number of objectives and targets for the organisation to grow its capacity and increase the impact of it research across all economic sectors, and society in the coming five years, under the leadership of Director of ERI Professor Sarah Culloty and the team at ERI.