Project ICONN, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, is developing and advancing European capacity in the design, development and performance optimisation for offshore installations.
In addition to directly contributing to job creation, the ICONN network will provide expert education and training across the offshore wind and wave sectors, helping industry accelerate innovation, development and deployment of new offshore technologies.
Assistant Professor Ciarán Mc Goldrick, from Trinity’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, is coordinating the project.
He said: “The technological challenges of creating, deploying, maintaining and efficiently operating offshore energy installations are considerable. The marine environment is harsh and necessitates new, innovative and robust design approaches. As deployments move into ever deeper waters, the associated capital expenditure increases rapidly and new management and control technologies, and operational concepts, become critical in maximising the techno-economic benefit.”
ICONN proposes such new technologies, concepts and approaches and is focused on key identified deficiencies in the offshore Wind Turbine (WT) and Wave Energy Converter (WEC) domains.
The ICONN partners span the offshore energy innovation space, incorporating specialists in control, reliability and operational efficiency, through to companies with new, highly original wave energy machines and offshore infrastructures.
The ICONN training programme, meanwhile, aims to familiarise young researchers with the technical disciplines inherent in offshore renewable energy, while strengthening their interdisciplinary links with key emergent systems and technologies. It also contributes strongly to national and EC strategic research, training and innovation strategies.
Among the unique features of the programme are that researchers spend at least half their time in industry, and that transnational, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary mobility are key elements of the project.
Professor Mc Goldrick added: “The award underlines the importance and value of excellence in education, training and research to cutting-edge industry sectors across the EU. The H2020 MSCA European Industrial Doctorate (EID) programme, under which ICONN is funded, is extremely competitive. To put it in a national context, only two such applications were awarded funding in Ireland in 2015 – and ICONN was one of those.”