A new National Biodiscovery Laboratory is to be established which will study how deep-sea substance might in future be used to make ingredients for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and functional foods.

The research around natural bioactive properties produced naturally in extreme deep sea environments will take place at the new facility to be established at the Marine Institute headquarters in Galway.

€900,000 in funding has been allocated by the government for the setting up of the lab.

It will bring together six of the country's leading marine researchers from across a range of disciplines, part of a consortium made up of NUI Galway, University of Limerick and University College Cork. 

The project was one of a number to receive funding as part of the government's Marine Research Measure programme, administered by the Marine Institute.

In total €10.7 million in grants were allocated during the 2016 round.

Among the projects announced for the first time today was a total of €3 million worth of ship time for 32 researchers on the institute's research vessels the Celtic Explorer and Celtic Voyager.

While researchers in NUI Galway, led by Dr Triona McGrath, will receive €650,000 over four years to study ocean acidification.

Seven different PhD students will also receive a total of €433,000 for studies in the area of fisheries. 

A project to value and understand Ireland's ocean economy also received a grant of over half a million euro.

Collectively all the funding will support up to 32 research positions, including 20 marine research positions announced five months ago.

Also announced today was a new €2m fund for research projects requiring specialist marine equipment and small infrastructure. 

It will begin taking applications for grants of between €20,000 and €200,000 tomorrow.