Agricultural research projects awarded £750,000 funding

Pioneering agricultural research into genetic resistance to TB and an electronic bovine disease diagnosis platform are among three projects in Northern Ireland to be awarded a combined £750,000.

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) announced the new round of funding earlier this week. It builds upon the 2016 award of £250,000 given to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.

The new funding, awarded to research teams within Queen’s University Belfast, will support collaborative projects that have been successful under the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme Agricultural Call 2017.

The three projects are as follows:

  • Improved Animal husbandry through Inhibition of Microbial Bile Salt Hydrolase – Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with University College Cork and the University of Tennessee.
  • Targeted genome editing to enhance genetic resistance to Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB) infection in domestic cattle populations – Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with University College Cork and Acceligen, Recombinetics’ agriculture division.
  • Development and validation of an on-farm, electronic disease diagnosis platform for cattle – Queen’s University Belfast in partnership with University College Cork and Georgia Institute of Technology.

DAERA has been working in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) in the Republic of Ireland and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify opportunities to co-fund research in areas of shared strategic priority.

Collaboration and co-operation will help to expedite solutions to some of the global challenges and opportunities facing agriculture and will boost local research and expertise to meet the needs of Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector.

The new funding for local scientists, technologists and advisers aims to help farmers face the challenges of increasing international competitiveness.

DAERA is currently on target to meet its objective of identifying 11 new collaborative research projects, contracting at least 11 new postdoctoral scientists based in NI research organisations by December 2018.