Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with special responsibility for research and innovation, and Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State with special responsibility for biodiversity and land use, have announced Irish participation in a new European Research Area Network (ERA-NET) funding initiative on agri-biodiversity. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will provide €1.5 million to support Irish involvement in the Network, while Teagasc will also provide €288,000 in support, in the form of three Walsh Scholarships.
Making the announcement about the European Agri-Biodiversity Research Network, Minister Heydon said, “this new Joint Research Call will bring Irish researchers together with European and International colleagues, to provide practical and policy-relevant knowledge on how agrobiodiversity can improve agricultural ecosystems, especially those most at risk. My Department will commit €1.5 million to this important Call, building on significant previous investment in this area, including most recently The Horizon Europe Partnership on Biodiversity, BiodivERsA+, which aimed to support the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems across land and sea. A central element of the Food Vision 2030 Strategy is to restore and enhance biodiversity. Investment in research in this area is key to delivering on this commitment.”
The Agrobiodiversity research call aims to investigate approaches to improving biodiversity at a landscape level, while also identifying the opportunities and obstacles to diversification that can help reinvigorate farming practices for the benefit of farmers and ecosystems.
For her part, Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Biodiversity and Land Use stated, “I warmly welcome the involvement of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Teagasc in this new European agrobiodiversity research call. As Minister with responsibility for biodiversity and land use, I have regularly highlighted the essential role that farmers play in addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis. I believe that support for research in this area is a critical enabler for those farmers to implement practices which will enhance the wide range of habitats and ecology on their farms. Along with my colleague Minister Heydon, I strongly encourage Irish researchers to apply to this important Call, which will protect and enhance our biological diversity but also lead to the development and implementation of sustainable and diverse agricultural production practices.”