Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon TD, made a series of announcements that will increase Irish involvement in the Global Research Alliance (GRA) for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
The GRA for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases brings together 67 countries to find ways to produce food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. Ireland, through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, was a founding member of the GRA.
Minister Heydon announced support towards two postgraduate positions in two GRA Flagship Projects on feed additives and rumen microbiology. Funding of over €450,000 will support Ireland’s involvement in these projects.
Referring to this announcement, Minister Heydon said, “support for these two Flagship projects is another demonstration of the strong international commitment my Department’s research programme has. By working in collaborative partnerships such as the Global Research Alliance, we can accelerate the pace of the research and more importantly, develop solutions to tackle methane emissions from cattle. By supporting early-stage postgraduate researchers we can ensure that Ireland continues to have a strong pipeline of world class climate and agriculture scientists.”
Additionally, Professor Tommy Boland, University College Dublin, has been appointed to Ireland’s Co-Chair position of the Livestock Research Group of the GRA. Prof. Boland took up the position at the recent GRA Council meeting held in Madrid in April.
Speaking on the appointment, Minister Heydon said, “I am delighted that Professor Boland has taken up this position. Along with his research and teaching expertise in UCD, he has a strong national and international reputation and breadth of expertise in sustainable livestock research. These will serve him well in Co-Chairing this important global research group and ensure it continues to bring together expertise from around the world to improve the climate performance of livestock farming. I also want to recognise the exceptional work and commitment of our outgoing Co-Chair, Professor Sinead Waters of Teagasc, who leaves the position after five years.”
For his part, Prof. Boland said, “it is a great honour to assume the role of Irish Co-Chair of the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance. Livestock production systems play key roles globally in terms of food provision and rural economies but are facing challenges in terms of future sustainability. The Global Research Alliance brings together international expertise and practice in livestock systems to deliver solutions from a global to a local level as part of the Research Group, and I look forward to the challenge and to working with national and international colleagues to deliver solutions for our future food systems.”
Minister Heydon also announced the Department’s involvement in a new European research funding initiative known as the Green ERAHUB, which will fund research on sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. The Department will provide €1.2 Million to support Irish involvement in the first Call under the initiative while Teagasc will also provide €200,000 in support of two Walsh Scholarships.
Opening the first research call under the initiative, the Minister said, “this new Research Call is a tremendous opportunity for Irish researchers to collaborate with European partners in the areas of fertiliser use efficiency, mitigating GHGs from agriculture, increasing European protein self-sufficiency, and sustainable energy production and use in agriculture. These research themes are closely aligned with areas of strategic importance to the Irish agriculture sector and I therefore strongly encourage Irish researchers to consider applying to the Call.”