Irish researchers who are participating in European projects on sustainable agriculture, fertiliser and forest and timber are set to benefit from a new €2.2 million funding boost.

The majority of the funding – €1.45 million – has been awarded to Irish researchers in five projects under the European Green ERAHUB which supports research into sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Both SustainSheep and NutriStorm, are being led by Irish researchers from Teagasc and the University of Limerick, respectively.

SustainSheep led by Dr. Fiona McGovern, Teagasc will receive €260,291 in funding and will investigate the development of new breeding goals for sheep to reduce methane emissions.

NutriStorm, led by Dr. Achim Schmalenberger, University of Limerick, will receive €298,038 and will investigate ways to enhance fertiliser efficiency by minimising soil nutrient loss through leaching, runoff and emissions.

According to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon, the latest funding boost will benefit both the wider agriculture and forestry sector.

Minister Heydon said the fact that Irish researchers are leading two of the large European collaborative projects is “highly encouraging, especially in areas that will contribute to our climate commitments and improve the sustainability and resilience of our agriculture and forest systems”. 

“These projects further demonstrate our dedication to innovative research to provide solutions for greenhouse gas emissions and fertiliser use reduction, new protein sources, and the novel use of timber in the sustainable construction of large-scale buildings.

“I am confident that together, these projects can bring about solutions to our common challenges and help to achieve greater impact for our agri-food and forest sectors,” the minister added.


The other projects that have secured funding include University College Dublin’s LIFE and Teagasc’s Fertigo which will examine ways to reduce fertiliser use through novel nutrient solutions from agriculture wastes, and the innovative use of new cover crop species to stabilise nitrogen in soils, improve phosphorus utilisation, and conserve of soil nutrients.

The final project, DARE2CYCLE, which will involve researchers from the University of Galway who will investigate innovative upcycling processes of dairy wastes and residues into “valuable microbial protein contributing to protein self-sufficiency in Europe”.

Meanwhile the ‘ForestValue2’ research initiative is aimed at research into resilient and sustainable forest and timber building systems.

Under this research initiative, €740,000 is being awarded to the University of Galway and Trinity College Dublin for the CRESTIMB project.

Irish researchers will collaborate with scientists across Europe to develop innovative timber systems suitable for multi-storey buildings.