European Innovation Partnerships launched at Natural Rural Network conference

The Minister for Agriculture launched a new funding initiative called European Innovation Partnerships’ at the recent inaugural Natural Rural Network (NRN) conference.

The initiative falls under the current Rural Development Programme and the first calls for applications will issue in November.

The Minister said that the purpose of these Innovation Partnerships is to bring “farmers, scientists, advisors and NGO’s together to generate new ideas and new ways of doing things”.

In order to do so he said that we need to work together to give us new solutions to old problems.

Minister Creed said that the ultimate aim of these innovation partnerships is to road-test new ideas and practices which can then be used more widely by farmers and others to improve productivity, enhance resource efficiency and pursue sustainable farming.

These will include the Hen Harrier, the restoration of our Uplands Peat habitats and Freshwater Pearl Mussel projects as well as other locally led projects, he said.

“The initiative we are launching here is very much in line with this thinking and will make available an EAFRD co-funded amount of €59m for pilot projects which I believe will, in time, feed into the twin objectives of economic growth and sustainability in our rural areas.

“This is in addition to the budget of €15m for the Burren Programme, bringing to €74m the firm commitment to collaborative actions under the Rural Development Programme.”

The NRN campaign is coordinated by Irish Rural Link, The Wheel, NUI Galway and Philip Farrelly & Co Ltd.

Speaking to Agriland, Philip Farrelly said that the initiative breaks new ground in allowing farmers identify environmental challenges in their area.

“More importantly, it also puts farmers at the helm when it comes to delivering the solutions they want to see implemented.

The scheme also represents a new and additional revenue stream for farmers throughout Ireland.”