Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon, have announced 12 research grants for projects across agri-food and bioeconomy arising from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) 2021 Thematic Research Call.
The 12 projects bring to 36 the number awarded funding from the 2021 Research Call. Of the 12 projects, four are being co-funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA NI). The DAFM funding is €9.6 million while the DAERA NI funding is €1.1 million, thus giving a total of €10.7 million.
Announcing the research grants for agri-food and bioeconomy, Minister McConalogue stated, “the €9.6 million in research grants that I am announcing today brings the total awards from the 2021 research call to almost €30 million. This is an investment in further improving the sustainability of the agri-food and bioeconomy sector, ensuring it remains at the cutting edge of science, and helping to drive innovation and value-add. The projects being funded will also help to deliver on many of the commitments in the Food Vision 2030 Strategy and will lead to break-through discoveries that will ultimately build a stronger, more robust and more sustainable agri-food sector. The funding we are announcing today will help support innovative and pioneering research projects which will help futureproof our sector.”
The projects will cover areas across climate, the environment, food safety, animal health, human nutrition, the bioeconomy and food processing.
The investment across all 12 projects will provide direct employment for 27 contract research positions. Educational opportunities will be provided for a further 30 post graduate students in the form of PhDs (22) and Masters (8). These posts will be spread over 11 institutions in Ireland and Northern Island.
Minister Heydon commented, “as Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation, I am pleased to announce this significant investment in research across a range of areas including climate, the environment, food safety, animal health, human nutrition, the bioeconomy and food processing. This reflects the breadth of research that this department funds and in line with the Food Vision 2030 Strategy, it also follows a food systems approach whereby the interconnectedness between agriculture, the environment and human nutrition is enhanced. The scientific information and knowledge transfer arising from these projects will help to add value to the Irish food industry and the bioeconomy. This investment in research also delivers on key commitments in the Programme for Government, the Climate Action Plan and in the recently launched ‘Impact 2030’ research and innovation strategy.”
Minister McConalogue concluded by remarking, “I congratulate the researchers who have received funding for their projects today. I also acknowledge the co-funding of €1.1 million in four of the projects by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. This builds on a long-standing research co-funding collaboration between DAERA NI and my own department across mutual areas of interest and I am glad to see it being further strengthened for the benefit of the agri-food and bioeconomy sector north and south.”