GMIT launches four new Marine Science scholarships

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GMIT has announced the creation of four new scholarships for PhD students studying marine science and biodiversity conservation in the west of Ireland.

The Cullen PhD Scholarships are being undertaken with the support of the Marine Institute and are funded under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 by the Irish Government.

The four Cullen PhD scholars will be supported by academics in the GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) at the Galway campus.

Practical training will be carried out using the Marine Institute laboratory facilities, historical datasets, equipment and infrastructures including access to the national marine research vessels.

Dr Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President for Research and Innovation, said that the IoT is delighted to deepen its partnership with the Marine Institute through this scholarship programme.

“Together we are committed to training Ireland’s next generation of marine scientists and to realising the goals of the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy”.

The four Cullen PhD Scholarships titles are:

Biodiversity conservation and restoration in the Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park (Mayo)” – this project aims to assess terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna within the park and evaluate key interactions which define the wilderness area providing a strong scientific bases for nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement activities. The MFRC’s Dr Heather Lally leads this project.

Biological changes in key commercially exploited fish in the light of Climate & Ocean Change” – working with the ClimFish project team, an established GMIT/Marine Institute collaboration, the aim is to build understanding of how climate change impacts life history traits in commercial fish species using survey data and historical otolith (fish earstone) collections. The MFRC leader associated with this project is Dr Deirdre Brophy, Centre  Leader of the MFRC.

Improving fishing survey indices though the use of spatiotemporal models” – understanding how to appropriately apply spatiotemporal models to improve indices is a key scientific question to be addressed in this project. The MFRC leader associated with this project is Dr Cóilín Minto.

Machine Learning assisted detection and prediction of climate change related anomalous events in complex marine systems” – the project aims to utilise deep learning approaches to enable online short-term prediction of anomalous and/or extreme marine events which may impact the commercial aquaculture sector. The MFRC’s  Dr Olga Lyashevska leads this project.

Further information on each project and application details are available on

Applications for all projects close at 12 noon, on Thursday 28th January 2021