The Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards recognise civil and public sector achievement in innovation, collaboration, and best-in-class service delivery.
We are extremely proud of our ObSERVE project team, who have won the "Excellence in Research, Analytics and Insight" category for the 2019 Awards.
The ObSERVE Programme is a partnership between the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, under the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
ObSERVE aims to improve our understanding of protected offshore species and sensitive habitats through high quality, state-of-the-art data collection across Ireland's European Economic Zone. Information generated supports the sustainable management of offshore activities and appropriate marine conservation strategies. The dynamic "Atlantic Margin", where Ireland's continental shelf merges into deeper oceanic basins, has been a key focus of this work since it's of growing interest to marine industry but also historically an area with significant gaps in environmental information.
Two strategic projects have been completed under the ObSERVE Programme with a combined Government investment of almost €2.7 million. ObSERVE Aerial consists of a series of high quality aerial surveys for whales, dolphins, seabirds and other marine life which covered a significant portion of our EEZ across two summers and two winters. The second novel project, ObSERVE Acoustic, tapped into the array of underwater sounds made by more than 20 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, in order to learn more about the numbers and habits, including rarely seen species.
The project has yielded unprecedented knowledge and understanding of our protected offshore species and sensitive habitats. It has also provided a wealth of open data for researchers, marine biologists, and those working in marine industries.