The Marine Institute was first established in 1991, after the amalgamation of multiple fisheries and marine research bases. Before then, however, the organisation’s predecessors had already been facilitating Summer Bursary internships. With the Marine Institute continuing to offer bursary positions each year, the many decades of the programme’s existence results in an incredible number of students who have been given the opportunity to take up a temporary role in the organisation. The range of responsibilities throughout the years have spanned across several fields from Molecular Biology and Marine Research to Finance, HR, and even Fine Art.

The Marine Institute’s Summer Bursary has shown itself to be a viable pathway into employment within the Institute, with many of the Marine Institute’s current and past employees giving credit to completed Summer Bursaries for their decision to pursue a career among its ranks. Past bursars can even be found among executive-level staff, with the recently retired CEO Paul Connolly having taken part in multiple of these programmes himself.

“It feels fantastic being on the ‘other side’ of the bursary experience” says Oisín McManus, one past bursar that currently works as a Hydrographic Data Processor. “I owe a huge amount of my career success to date to the bursary programme, and to be able to give back to the next round of bursars is great. A lot of the same people are still working in the Marine Institute from when I first started – even a few of the bursars that I started with, 15 years ago!”

As some past bursars retire, and newly graduated students join the Marine Institute’s working body, another ex-bursar, Helen McCormick, Senior Laboratory analyst and Coordinator of the Bursary Programme, reflected on her own history with the Summer Bursary programme, saying: “The experience I received as a bursar was wonderful, and now I get the opportunity to see the incredible experience the students receive across all service areas, I am always so impressed with the level of ability from the bursars.”

Students’ contributions have been enriching the work of the Marine Institute for decades, and will hopefully continue for decades more. Each year, young people bring new ideas to the table, while also benefiting from the expertise of the Marine Institute’s more long-standing staff, who, as we now know, may have also been in their shoes some years beforehand.

Marine Institute

The Marine Institute provides government, public agencies, and the maritime industry with a range of scientific, advisory, and economic development services that inform policy-making, regulation, and the sustainable management and growth of Ireland’s marine resources. The Institute undertakes, coordinates, and promotes marine research and development, which is essential to achieving a sustainable ocean economy, protecting ecosystems, and inspiring a shared understanding of the ocean.

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