Apr 17 2009 Posted: 00:00 IST
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Eamon Ryan, T.D., made his first visit to NUI Galway yesterday, where he was welcomed to the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) by its Director, Professor Gerard Jennings. Researchers from the ECI's Energy, Environmental Technology and Environmental Informatics areas provided an overview to the Minister of active and ongoing research projects which are funding the next generation of 4th level environmental graduates. According to Professor Jennings, "Galway and the Western Region is an ideal location to conduct research on environmental and climate change to allow base-line studies to be performed on major global issues such as transboundary air pollution". Minister Ryan emphasised to environmental researchers the importance of making their research relevant by "taking it out into the real world through enterprise-led opportunities and patents but not just for the sake of strengthening the economy but for valid and sound environmental reasons". The 40 minute session with academic researchers was followed by a one-hour Question and Answer Session with the Minister chaired by the ECI's Development Manager, Dr Martina Prendergast. The session attracted over 80 key partners from local industry, business, local authorities, city council officials and representatives from national agencies such as Teagasc. Dr Martina Prendergast also welcomed the announcement by ESB of a series of initiatives to create and sustain up to 3,700 jobs in the new green economy. She stated that: "The majority of the jobs will be created in the areas of Smart Networks, Smart Metering, Electric Vehicles, Wind Energy and new Environmental Technologies. Such initiatives will require skilled graduates in areas such as Environmental Engineering. "According to an announcement by Minister Ryan at this session, "Ireland is in the top 3 or 4 countries in the world that can deliver initiatives such as Smart Grid Technologies, Cleaner Greener Energy, and Energy Efficiency".