A new call has been made for research proposals under the Department of Agriculture’s three competitive research funding programmes – FIRM, Stimulus and CoFoRD.

The areas covered 2014 include animal and crop health and production, horticulture, food and health, sustainable aquaculture production, novel ingredients and safety of marine origin foods, forest production and management, and the wider bio-economy as well as the safety, quality, integrity and sustainability of the supply chain.

Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) is the main programme for funding food research in research performing organisations in Ireland including Teagasc and the Higher Education Institutes.

Stimulus aims to facilitate research that fills gaps in the mainstream Teagasc programme, supports sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies, and contributes to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the agriculture sector.

And the Programme of Competitive Forestry Research for Development (CoFoRD) aims to develop a scientific foundation and support for a sustainable, competitive, market orientated and innovative forest industry.

The content of the call is informed by strategic research agendas drawn up by industry-led research advisory groups operated by the department.

It is also well aligned to priority areas identified in the Government’s National Research Prioritisation Exercise, the department noted.

Following on from significant awards of €65m in agri-food and forest research over the past two years, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, reiterated his commitment to targeted research and innovation within the sector.

“Publicly-funded research will continue to play a key role in driving innovation within the bio-economy thus contributing to the achievement of the growth targets outlined in Food Harvest 2020 and ultimately making a positive contribution to the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.”

The minister concluded by wishing applicants every success with their applications and stated: “I have no doubt that the research community will take full advantage of this opportunity by submitting excellent proposals and I look forward to following the process over the coming months.”

The deadline for proposal applications is Thursday 8 May at 1pm. All documentation is available on the research section of the department’s website www.agriculture.gov.ie/research.