2015_10: Research Fellowship – SIG et planification spatiale en Ireland du Nord

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Developing GIS Decision and Plan-Making Support System for Marine Spatial Planning in Ireland

The use of spatially-fixed technologies (such as renewable energy devices) in the marine environment is likely to increase in the future, creating new demands for marine space. The effective sustainable planning of these devices requires the integration of knowledge and qualitative and quantitative data from a range of disciplines, including: ecology, oceanography, engineering, social science and economics. The need to integrate such a wide range of knowledge places high resource and time demands on marine managers. To-date there is relatively few integrated decision support tools available to aid the decision-making process. This project aims to address this issue by developing new interdisciplinary decision support tools that will facilitate the development of these sectors while safeguarding the existing ones and protecting the marine ecosystems.

Drawing on the Marine Institute’s Marine Atlas, this project will use the hypothetical development of offshore renewable energy sites in Ireland as a basis for the development of these tools. Renewable energy from offshore wind, wave and tidal technology has the potential to contribute significantly globally to energy security for future generations. Common to all three systems is the concern regarding the potential user group conflicts with respect to the introduction these devices. Planning a marine renewable energy (MRE) array in a high-use marine area, the candidate will explore and develop decision support tools and identify relevant social, economic and environmental datasets. Initially decision support tools will be based on GIS tools and Bayesian Belief Networks. The candidate will also identify gaps in the data needs and will collect socio-economic data working closely with stakeholders.

The conclusions will be collated into a framework to aid policy and decision makers in marine spatial planning and data will be integrated into Ireland’s Marine Atlas.


Applicants must have at least 2:1 honours degree or equivalent or close to completion in environmental sciences, geosciences, ecology, environmental planning or similar.


High level of computer literacy and evidence of familiarity with GIS and the analysis, plotting and manipulation of large datasets.It is also a requirement that any applicant whose first language is other than English must have certified English language proficiency.

Desirable: Foundation in socio-economics

Funding is through a Marine Institute Cullen Fellowship and provides a 3-year stipend of £ 14,057per annum plus fees. The position can commence as soon as feasible. The student will primarily be based in Queens University Belfast Marine Lab in Portaferry, Northern Ireland.

Contact: Pia Schuchert p.schuchert@qub.ac.uk