Launched in March 2010, the Irish Maritime and Resource Cluster (IMERC) aims to establish a global maritime and energy innovation hub. The opportunity for Ireland is unique because of our vast maritime jurisdiction, which is ten times the extent of our land mass, with resources that we haven’t yet begun to imagine or exploit. Ireland is waking up to this opportunity and it’s an exciting time to be promoting the development of Ireland’s ‘blue economy’.
The IMERC Cluster objective is to facilitate upwards of 3,000 new jobs through our partners. It does this by promoting the capabilities of our partners in Cork Institute of Technology, the Irish Naval Service and University College Cork. These capabilities include the world class MaREI Centre supporting industry led research in the fields of marine and renewable energy, as well as unique research infrastructure such as the LIR ocean energy test tank facilities in the Beaufort Building.
The cluster is a hotbed of talent, with 30,000 under graduates between UCC and CIT, and more specifically with master mariners and engineers being trained in the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy. The Navy is a Unique Selling Point. The White Paper on Defence published in 2015 recognises innovation as a force multiplier for the Defence Forces. The Navy demonstrates this in practice by collaborating with research and enterprise.
All of this expertise in one location provides a degree of critical mass that will scale and grow as more buildings come on stream as part of the IMERC Master Plan. This will have a transformative effect, providing an engine for innovation in Lower Cork Harbour. However, future buildings are only a means to an end. It is the entrepreneurs, technicians, scientists, engineers, investors and business leaders that will fill them that will count.
In 2015, IMERC launched a new innovation space for maritime and energy oriented start-ups called ‘The Entrepreneur Ship’ which aims to capitalise on opportunities in the maritime and energy economies. The Entrepreneur Ship is the first dedicated maritime and energy innovation centre in the world providing companies with access to an ecosystem of world-class training, talent, research and test bed facilities through the IMERC partners in Cork. The Entrepreneur Ship provides new and existing companies in the maritime and energy sectors with the supports that they need to grow and innovate. Resident Companies include:
DARE Technology, an innovative engineering start-up specialising in marine renewable energy. DARE is developing a wind turbine for marine vessels that has the potential to remove up to one million tonnes of C02 from the atmosphere each year.
Exceedence ltd has developed software that will provide financial analytics solutions to developers in the marine renewable sector.
Black & Veatch, a large engineering multinational company with over 10,000 employees worldwide with a focus on marine and energy in Ireland at its office in Cork
SkyTec Ireland specialising in unmanned aircraft systems technology
National Space Centre which provides carrier grade teleport facilities from Elfordstown Earthstation
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority who are committed to the effective and fair regulation of the Irish Sea-Fishing and Seafood Sectors
Solo Energy which provides distributed renewable energy storage solutions for all stakeholders on the grid.
Marine User Experience focused on user centred design and research for marine products and services.
The Entrepreneur Ship also has a number of virtual members which can be found on their website http://www.theentrepreneurship.ie/