Creed opens call for agri research proposals

A new call for research proposals has been announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed under his department’s research funding programmes.

The investment in research that will flow from this call will “enable the sector to better respond to policy and regulatory developments, societal demands, technology advances, and trends in consumer behaviour over the next decade”, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Challenges

Making the announcement, Minister Creed said: “Publicly-funded research is now even more necessary to help drive innovation, competitiveness and long-term sustainability in the agri-food, forest and marine sectors as we prepare for the immediate challenges on the horizon including Brexit, climate change and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).”

The call invites eligible research performing organisations to submit collaborative research proposals directed at addressing current priority issues across the following four thematic areas that span the entire agri-food, forest and bioeconomy sector.

These include:
  • Environment and climate smart approaches to agri-food systems;
  • Animal and plant production, One Health and welfare;
  • Rural growth, digitalisation and the bio-economy; and
  • Food.

The call is designed to further advance actions in Food Wise 2025 around exploiting opportunities provided through the application of digital technologies and the emergence of the bioeconomy.

In addition, it is aimed at addressing some of the key challenges facing the sector including in areas such as climate change, the sustainable use of inputs in animal and crop production, and the need to adopt a systems-based approach to food production, processing, and consumption.

The deadline for submission of applications is on Thursday, April 18, at 1:00pm. All documentation in relation to this call is available on the research section of the department’s website.

Research funding programmes

The department has three ‘public good’ competitive research funding programmes, collectively referred to as the “department’s research funding programmes”.

The three programmes are:
  1. Food Institutional Research Measure (Food) aims to develop platform technologies that underpin a competitive, innovative and sustainable food manufacturing and marketing sector, some of which can be further exploited through more industry facing public support programmes;
  2. Research Stimulus Fund (Agriculture) aims to support sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies, and to contribute to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the primary agriculture sector;
  3. Programme of Competitive Forest Research for Development (Forestry) aims to develop a scientific foundation and support for a sustainable, competitive, market orientated and innovative forest industry.

The involvement – and co-funding, in cash or in kind – of industry is also welcome, according to the department.

North-South cooperation

As part of the on-going North-South cooperation on agri-food research and innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland, has teamed up with the department to provide funding under many of the research topics to enable three research performing organisations in Northern Ireland to participate in this call.

Concluding, the minister wished the applicants every success with their applications.

“I expect the new knowledge, technologies and innovations that will emerge from this call to provide valuable evidence for policy development and useful tools to help us meet the strategic growth targets set out in Food Wise 2025 and other strategic reports.”