Almost €11 million has been allocated to 12 research projects across the island of Ireland focusing on agri-food and the bioeconomy.

The grants follow the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM’s) 2021 Thematic Research Call.

Of the 12 projects, four are being co-funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

The DAFM funding is €9.6 million while the DAERA funding is €1.1 million, giving a total of €10.7 million.

The 12 projects, which include 27 contract research positions, will focus on climate, the environment, food safety, animal health, human nutrition, the bioeconomy and food processing.

Educational opportunities will be provided for a further 30 post-graduate students in the form of PhD and Master degrees across 11 institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Research funding

Today’s (Wednesday, June 1) allocation means that 36 projects have now been awarded almost €30 million in grant funding under the 2021 research call.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said:

“This is an investment in further improving the sustainability of the agri-food and bioeconomy sector, ensuring it remains at the cutting edge of science, and helping to drive innovation and value-add.

“The projects being funded will also help to deliver on many of the commitments in the Food Vision 2030 Strategy and will lead to break-through discoveries that will ultimately build a stronger, more robust and more sustainable agri-food sector,” he added.

“The funding we are announcing today will help support innovative and pioneering research projects which will help futureproof our sector,” Minister McConalogue said.

Minister of State at DAFM with special responsibility for research and innovation Martin Heydon welcomed the “significant investment”.

“The scientific information and knowledge transfer arising from these projects will help to add value to the Irish food industry and the bioeconomy.

“This investment in research also delivers on key commitments in the programme for government, the Climate Action Plan and in the recently launched ‘Impact 2030’ research and innovation strategy,” the minister said.