New strategic food research and innovation agenda launched

The new strategic research and innovation agenda, ‘Sustainable, Healthy Agri-food Research Plan (SHARP)’ for the ‘Sustainable Food Production and Processing’ and ‘Food for Health’ was launched today by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.

Speaking at the launch Minister Coveney said he welcomes the fact that this new research and innovation strategy is built around three guiding principles – competitiveness, sustainability and citizen/consumer orientation.

“This recognises the need to maintain a strong collective focus on the production and processing of safe, high-quality, nutritious food in an efficient, competitive, and sustainable manner that benefits everyone from farm to fork,” he said.

The Minister also commended the relevant funders for including an Implementation Framework whereby they commit to adopting a structured approach to future funding decisions so as to achieve a well coordinated, complementary and efficient use of public funds.

Vision

SHARP’s over-arching vision is to “Invest strategically in Sustainable Food Production & Processing and Food for Health research to drive innovation and enable the agri-food sector to achieve its full potential in a sustainable manner thereby contributing to the achievement of the overall Food Harvest 2020 Vision of Acting Smart, Thinking Green, and Achieving Growth, and increasing public awareness of the role of nutrition, thereby supporting population health.

The Plan is the result of an intensive exercise drawing on the collective wisdom of relevant Government Departments, funding bodies, the research community, all parts of the industry and the broader society.

It identifies a clear set of research priorities that will act as a blueprint to guide the funding decisions of all departments and agencies operating publicly funded research programmes over the next few years.

SHARP contains 179 research and investment ideas grouped into 8 thematic and 1 cross-cutting pillars spanning the full food chain from sustainable primary production through processing and product development activities to research on human nutrition to support improved population health.

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