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Ministers Open Major €20m Call for Research Proposals

Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon, along with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett opened a major call for research proposals across the agri-food, forest and bioeconomy sector.

The ‘DAFM Thematic Research Call 2023’ is a biennial research call, awarding over €20 million in funding for pioneering research in areas such as climate mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity and water quality, sustainable farming, animal health and welfare, social sustainability, the bioeconomy, agri-digitalisation, and safe, healthy sustainable food.

Minister Heydon said, “I am delighted to announce the opening of this major research call. If we want to futureproof our primary producers and agri-food sector, we need to continue investing heavily in cutting edge research. This call will build on the very significant investments made by this department last year, including €9.6 million for 12 projects under the last thematic research call in 2021, €3.6 million for four projects under the Ireland-New Zealand agriculture and climate research partnership, and the €4.5 million for 19 projects under the Policy and Strategic Studies Research Call.”

“The work funded under these calls is essential to equip farmers, foresters, and the wider agri-food sector with the tools needed to improve their economic, environmental, and social sustainability in the years ahead.”

Minister McConalogue said, “we are a cutting-edge, forward-thinking, and innovative sector based on cutting-edge research. We are constantly seeking to evolve and develop in all aspects of the industry. Food Vision 2030 envisages Ireland becoming a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems by the end of this decade and its mission to develop an innovative, competitive and resilient sector, driven by technology and talent, will be a key enabler of this. My department is strongly committed to this mission and the research call being launched today is evidence of this.”

“The department’s Thematic Research Call aligns with the ambition of the National Research and Innovation Strategy, IMPACT 2030, for Ireland to become a world leader in research and innovation by facilitating transdisciplinary research, developing and nurturing research talent and creating new scientific knowledge and expertise which will support successful innovations. For the purpose of ensuring a return on investment and impact, there is a strong emphasis in the call on knowledge transfer, with applications required to contain a dedicated Knowledge Transfer Plan to facilitate stakeholder engagement and to ensure project outputs generate benefits across society.”

Minister of State Pippa Hackett said, “I am delighted to see the opening of this large research Call and as Minister with special responsibility for land use and biodiversity, I am pleased that there is a strong emphasis on these areas as well as other aspects of climate and environment, organic agriculture, forestry and nutritious and sustainable food production and processing. I would encourage all eligible researchers to strongly consider submitting proposals to this Call and I look forward to seeing the successful project awards later this year.”

Among the objectives of the ‘DAFM Thematic Research Call 2023’ are building research capacity, expertise and reputation, addressing research capability gaps, providing opportunities for early-stage researchers, and developing insights, innovation and technologies to advance the sustainable development of the agriculture, food, forest and bioeconomy sector. Projects can be funded up to a maximum of €3 million and a maximum of 5 years.

As part of the ongoing North-South cooperation on agri-food research and innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland is collaborating on this research call by providing funding to enable eligible research performing organisations in Northern Ireland to collaborate on projects with partners in Ireland.