€14 million in research grants awarded to 23 agri-related projects

Awards of almost €14.3 million in funding were announced by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed for collaborative research projects earlier today (Wednesday, July 11).

The grants are going to the winning applicants from last year’s research call under the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s three competitive research programmes.

Announcing the awards at a briefing in Dublin today the minister said “The projects being funded by my department will make a significant contribution to the future sustainability, innovation and competitiveness of the Irish agri-food sector.

The 23 projects funded cover topics across a wide range of areas including: food safety and authenticity; functional foods for health and nutrition; novel food processing technologies; farm safety and animal well-being / biosecurity; forest inventory; and remote sensing, tree breeding and biotic threats.

“A number of the new projects focus on ensuring the environmental sustainability of our croplands, for example examining the use of multi species swards, the potential of carbon sequestration and sustainable pesticide use,” Minister Creed added.

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A total of 12 Irish research performing organisations will benefit from the awards announced today, including Teagasc, national universities and institutes of technology.

The investment across all 23 projects will provide direct employment for 71 contract research positions. Furthermore, education opportunities will be provided for 57 post graduate students in the form of PhDs (47) and Masters degrees (10).

Cross-border departmental collaboration

As part of the 2017 call, an arrangement exists whereby the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development, Northern Ireland will provide funding to certain Northern Ireland based institutional applicants collaborating on one of the projects announced today.

The minister welcomed this as “an excellent example of the successful collaborative approach of the administrations, North and South, working together in an important policy area which is of mutual benefit”.

In addition, another separate project is being co-funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The call was heavily influenced by the strategic research agendas drawn up by industry-led, stakeholder advisory groups.

This announcement follows a significant investment of some €72 million in nationally-conducted agri-food and forest research over the last five years, together with €7 million in research conducted trans-nationally with other EU member states and the United States.

A number of additional research awards under the 2017 call will be announced over the next few months.

Full details of these awards are available on the department’s website here.