Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon TD, announced awards of just over €1.7 million for five projects related to soils and agri digital research.
Almost €1 million in funding is being awarded to two projects under the European Joint Programme on Agricultural Soil Management (EJP Soil). These will see University College Dublin, Teagasc and the Tyndall National Institute investigate the development of innovative sensing technologies for monitoring and mapping of soil management practices, and how climate-smart management of cropping systems can contribute to carbon sequestration and improved cycling of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients.
Just over €0.5 million will go to two projects under the European Research Network for ICT Agri Digital Research. Here, UCD and Munster Technological University will be involved in examining artificial intelligence applications for farming, and ICT for traceability and transparency in food and beverages.
Almost €280,000 is being awarded for one project under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership. Trinity College Dublin will collaborate with US and Northern Irish partners to investigate biochar for excess soil phosphorous sorption with subsequent slow release for sustainable crop production.
Announcing the awards, Minister Heydon said, “these five projects will see Irish researchers collaborate with other scientists across Northern Ireland, Europe and the US. There is a strong emphasis on soil research because good soil health is crucial in sequestering carbon, cycling nutrients, building resilience against climate change and is the foundation of our food systems. The research being supported in the area of agri-digitalisation, particular the use of artificial intelligence, is also exciting and has the potential to transform our agri-food systems to become more efficient, sustainable, and resilient.”