With the establishment of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG), a partnership between six universities, industry and Government, Prof John Walsh and his team are searching for Ireland’s future resource needs.
As Ireland’s energy needs, and those of the entire world, are increasing year-on-year, the requirement for advanced geological methods and understanding has become paramount, not just for finding sources of fuel, but also for discovering potential water and raw material supplies underground.
Last October, the Irish Government and Science Foundation Ireland announced funding worth €245m for the establishment of five new research centres in Ireland, one of which was iCRAG.
iCRAG as a centre is a partnership between UCD, TCD, NUIG, UCC, DIAS and NUIM and aims to further develop the strategies and technologies that have until now, not been the focus of funding compared with other scientific and technological sectors.
Ireland in particular, according to Walsh, has many resources below its surface that make it a very interesting, but challenging, place to extract resources. Ireland lays claim to being the fourth-largest producer of zinc in the world, whilst 18pc of Ireland’s entire water supply comes from beneath our feet.
Speaking of Ireland’s potential at creating a more self-sustainable future, Walsh said, “We’ve got these resources potentially out there and finding them could secure the supply of water, energy and raw materials, such as minerals, all of which will be of benefit to the country … geoscientists need to provide as best as possible a well-defined backdrop to the efforts of companies and the Government.”