Decarbonisation and just transition focus for NUI Galway’s first Global Challenges project

Handout photo of Sustainable Marine floating tidal turbine platform. Credit: Sustainable Marine.
Mar 09 2022 Posted: 06:43 GMT

Research team at the University exploring sustainable solutions for Tidal Energy

 NUI Galway has today announced the first project under its Global Challenges Programme - a targeted research initiative to tackle six of the world’s most pressing issues.

The Tidal Energy project will focus on solutions to secure transition to affordable and clean energy that also enhance the health and resilience of communities, wildlife and environment.

Professor Jamie Goggins, Professor of Civil Engineering, MaREI Centre, Ryan Institute & School of Engineering, NUI Galway, will lead the project.

Professor Goggins said: “The NUI Galway Tidal Energy project will engage with multiple stakeholders - including the people living in the coastal communities - to unlock the potential benefits for them in our drive to decarbonise the economy. 

“The just transition is crucial in the work towards decarbonisation. So too is the importance placed on biodiversity and how we enhance the health and resilience of our ocean & coastal communities. Our aim in the Tidal Energy project is to create a blueprint to simultaneously achieve these ambitions.”

The NUI Galway Global Challenges fund was unveiled as part of the University’s new Research and Innovation Strategy 2021-26. There are six areas of focus in the Global Challenges programme - Antimicrobial Resistance, Decarbonisation, Democracy, Food Security, Human-centred Data, and Ocean and Coastal Health.

The Tidal Energy project is being supported under the theme of Decarbonisation. 

Further information is available at

Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “Through our Global Challenges programme we are inviting our researchers to focus on the most pressing questions and the most difficult issues. As part of our mission as a research-led institution, it is incumbent upon us to work for the public good and also with communities and stakeholders, both local and globally, to respond to the challenges facing humanity.”

The Tidal Energy project involves a number of key, interconnected elements:

:: Exploring the development of next-generation tidal energy technology and tidal turbine blades.

:: Site modelling and the assessment of the impact of climate change on site characteristics and extreme events for tidal energy technology. 

:: Economic appraisal of tidal energy and the investigation of societal attitudes.

:: Stakeholder engagement to better understand the needs and concerns of tidal energy developers, local authorities and the coastal communities.

:: Systems to assess the interactions of tidal energy infrastructure with wildlife.

:: Recruitment of five PhD researchers to the project.

Globally, the tidal energy resource is estimated at more than 1200 terraWhats per annum. The world uses 17.7 terrawhats a year.

The Tidal Energy project brings together a wealth of academic and research expertise and knowledge from across NUI Galway. The team includes Professor Goggins; Dr Stephen Nash, Senior Lecturer School of Engineering; Dr William Finnegan; Senior Research Fellow, School of Engineering; Professor Stephen Hynes, Professor in Economics and Director of the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit; Dr Thomas Van Rensburg, Senior Lecturer, School of Business & Economics; Dr Gesche Kindermann, Lecturer, School of Natural Science; Dr Anne Marie Power, Senior Lecturer in Zoology, School of Natural Sciences), and Dr Colin Lawton Senior Lecturer, School of Natural Science.


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