GMIT and EU Consortium offer International MSC in Marine Biology

GMIT and a consortium of European partners have been awarded Erasmus Mundus funding to continue to offer the International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea).

International students on field trips as part of their studies on the Erasmus Mundus funded International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea), which is delivered in GMIT’s Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Galway.

GMIT and a consortium of European Higher Education Institute partners have been awarded funding of €4.4 million under the EU Erasmus+ Key Action 1 - Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees 2020, to continue delivery of the International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea). The two-year joint master programme, organised by 11 leading European HEIs in the field of marine sciences, is supported by the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC). IMBRSea was one of the 40 Masters programmes awarded from 100 applications this year. 

GMIT has been delivering this prestigious programme since 2010, welcoming graduates from all over the world to study for two years at the Galway (Dublin Road) campus Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC). Currently there are 200 postgraduate students from more than 35 countries in the first and second year of the programme. All consortium partners are currently developing fully online and blended learning pathways to account for national and international public health guidelines. 

IMBRSea covers a wide range of subjects related to marine biological resources. With an emphasis on marine biological and ecological processes, the programme links biology of marine organisms and environmental studies with subjects in marine policy and planning. In the first semester students go to one of six universities while in the second semester students complete a period of professional practice with industry, eNGOs, research and other stakeholders internationally. 

During the summer between first and second year (end of July-August) students participate in a 10-day Summer School where they design, execute and report on field-based research in Tjärnö Marine Station in Sweden.  For the third semester students follow Specialization Tracks in different universities and complete an online thesis preparation course. For the fourth and last semester, students pursue their own research for their MSc thesis in research centres and associate partners all over the world. Finally, every year the programme hosts a joint symposium where first year students present their professional practice experiences and second years students present their thesis findings. 

Welcoming the announcement, GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn says: “I want to congratulate Dr Ian O’Connor and the team for growing this programme over the last decade into the significant global consortium that it is today. GMIT aims to enable an international experience for all our students, and programmes like this one really help us to achieve this. The scholarship aspect of this programme also makes the programme accessible and this aligns very well with the inclusion pillar of our Strategic Plan”. 

Dr Ian O’Connor, Programme Co-Ordinator for the MSc at GMIT, says: “I am delighted with the continuing funding for this long-running joint international MSc.  The IMBRSea MSc is the fourth incarnation of this programme, and in the last ten years the consortium has widened from five to 11 HEI partners all over Europe, and more than 130 associate partners globally, providing professional practice and hosting thesis research students   This is the largest Erasmus Mundus MSc programme in Europe, with over 200 students.  Since 2010, GMIT has welcomed students from all over the world as part of this two-year programme. Some of the graduates remain with us for PhD research within the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre at GMIT or with other partners in the consortium.”  

Dr Rick Officer, VP Research & Innovation, GMIT, says: “The IMBRSea programme recognises the huge importance of healthy marine environments to mitigating climate change and to sustaining marine industries. GMIT’s marine research staff and students are similarly focussed on enabling sustainability, conserving biodiversity, and improving the productivity of aquatic ecosystems. Our renewed involvement in the IMBRSea programmes ensures that GMIT’s expertise will extend worldwide.”