[caption id="attachment_39488" align="aligncenter" width="300"]geoscience-ireland-value CLICK TO ENLARGE[/caption] On 7 November 2017, Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne launched the Economic Review of Geoscience Sector at Geoscience 2017 – the annual Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) conference. Prepared by Indecon International Economic Consultants for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and GSI, the Economic Review puts a value of €3.28 billion on the overall economic impact of the sectoral outputs for 2016, across the areas of geotourism and geoheritage, groundwater, extractive industries, geoscience research and geohazards. Indecon’s analysis on these areas indicates that, in terms of gross value added (GVA) for 2016, Ireland’s geoscience sector contributes to approximately over €1,473 million (overall economic impact). Employment (i.e. full-time equivalents – FTEs) figures calculated for the same year, across the same subsectors, comes to 15,110 directly employed, with a further 9,628 indirect and induced, giving a total of 24,739. [caption id="attachment_39489" align="aligncenter" width="300"]geoscience-ireland-economic-impacts CLICK TO ENLARGE[/caption]

  • Geotourism and Geoheritage
GSI supports the Geotourism and Geoheritage sector largely through its Irish Geoheritage Programme. Activities in this area include the development of UNESCO Geoparks in Ireland and managing the Irish Geopark Forum. The GSI also provide co-funding for geologists within existing and expectant geoparks and collaborate in major geotourism EU project initiatives. The preparation of inventories of geoheritage sites for local authorities is a statutory role held by the GSI, which are included in county development plans and targeted for tourism development. On an economy-wide basis, the sector supports employment of 8,767 FTEs with an output of over €660 million.
  • Groundwater Research
In the report, Indecon has undertaken an innovative new econometric model to estimate the value of Groundwater Resources. Economy-wide impacts for 2016 of groundwater collection, treatment and supply accumulate to €64.7 million in output, consisting of a direct economic contribution of groundwater resources is estimated at €35 million and indirect and induced impacts of €29.5 million. It is noted that any disruption to water supplies can have significant economic consequences.
  • Education and Research
In the area of Geoscience Education & Research in Ireland, there are several contributors including both academic and public institutions. Through national co-ordination of research resources, funding programmes and the active collaboration with other national and international organisations and research institutions, the GSI support the geoscience research sector. This sector is increasing in strength through the establishment of iCRAG (Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences) and collaborations with public intuitions such as the Irish Research Council (IRC) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Indecon estimate that the direct impacts in this area to be 465 FTEs, with this area contributing over €30 million in direct output. The report analyses the economy wide impacts of lead and zinc extraction and economic impacts of peat under the Extractive Industries area. The GSI provides datasets to support exploration and development for the extractive industry. Indecon estimate the total economy-wide output of all extractive industry activities in Ireland is estimated to account for €1.65 billion to the Irish economy with an estimated support of 7,822 FTE jobs.
  • Natural Hazards
Through research and information provided by geoscience, the economic costs of Natural Hazards can be reduced or diminished. GSI is engaged in work to mitigate natural hazards through various programmes and initiatives. This report examines the overall economic impact for natural hazards to be €843.6 million and supports employment of 6,681 FTEs. [caption id="attachment_39490" align="aligncenter" width="300"]geoscience-ireland-jobs CLICK TO ENLARGE[/caption]

Geoscience Ireland: exporting Irish expertise

As well as examining some of the main sectors of the economic impacts of geoscience, the economic report has taken into consideration the role and economic impacts of geoscience-related business clusters. Supported by GSI and Enterprise Ireland, Geoscience Ireland (GI) is a network of over 30 companies’ expertise in the geoscience sector. Providing design, consultancy and contracting services to multilateral agencies, government and the private sector, this network has grown from five companies since its inception in 2012. The 2016 annual turnover figures for GI member companies collectively measured at over €800 million. Commenting on the report, Minister Kyne said, “I greatly welcome this new report which gives us firm figures on the value of the geoscience sector, one that may be sometimes overlooked and yet is clearly very significant. In terms of employment, it is worth noting that these are generally high-end professional jobs and that much of the activity, being linked to geotourism and natural resources, is located throughout the country and not concentrated in our cities.” Koen Verbruggen, director of Geological Survey Ireland, added: “This report is very encouraging and will be vital in planning a new strategy for GSI. The figures show a healthy economic recovery in the geoscience sector, but also a significant growth in areas such as geotourism and research and the need to plan and prepare for natural hazards such as have occurred lately with flooding and landslides. The specific calculations of impact of GSI backed initiatives such as INFOMAR and the Geoscience Ireland business cluster is also a strong validation of our current programmes.” [caption id="attachment_39491" align="aligncenter" width="300"] CLICK TO ENLARGE[/caption] The report was compiled from Central Statistics Office figures and other sources by Indecon International Economic Consultants and is available for download at Geological Survey Ireland’s website: www.gsi.ie.