€11 million in funding allocated to 12 innovative projects

A total of €11 million in funding has been allocated to 12 innovative projects under the  European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP).

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, announced the results of a competitive process to select the successful proposals to be funded under the initiative today.

Projects developed under this open call are developed by operational groups which will be funded under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014–2020, according to the department.

These 12 “exciting projects” will deliver “novel solutions” to challenges facing the Irish agri-food sector and the rural economy, Minister Creed said.

“They align well with our RDP and national priorities particularly on environmental sustainability.

The exciting range of projects selected will address challenges such as biodiversity, profitability and sustainability, and will harness the creativity and resourcefulness which is the hallmark of Ireland’s rural sector.

The key elements of EIP include the identification of challenges in the sector and the development of innovative solutions by people who are already involved in the sector, the department explained.

They fund co-operation between different stakeholders including farmers, researchers, advisors and businesses, it added.

The EIP requires that projects are centred around an operational group, which brings together actors such as farmers, researchers, advisors and agri businesses to identify innovative solutions to particular challenges.

Minister Creed outlined that the 12 selected projects went through an exceptionally competitive process and that all projects were thoroughly assessed in order to identify the best schemes.

In each case, innovative ideas have been developed from the bottom up, by people currently working in the sector.

“These projects offer great potential to help us to build on the success of the agri-food sector in recent years, and to address some of the remaining challenges with fresh approaches,” he concluded.

Process

Round one of the EIP competitive process started in December, 2016 – with an initial open call for ideas using a simple application form, the department explained.

Proposals were evaluated by a committee against qualitative criteria, including: relevance to the EIP programme; the innovativeness of the proposed approach; and compatibility with RDP priorities.

This generated a shortlist of 23 applicants chosen to go forward to round two. These applications were funded to prepare detailed project plans.

Following assessment of these plans, 12 projects have now been selected for implementation on the ground – with up to 100% funding provided under the new initiative, according to the department.

Details of the proposals approved for full implementation are available online.

Meanwhile, the second of two calls under this initiative issued in August of this year; submitted proposals are currently under consideration. An overall funding package of €24 million has been set aside to support EIPs under these two calls.