A programme operated by the Irish Research Council (IRC) will be open to businesses in the agri-food sector.

Martin Heydon, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for research and development, has launched a ‘strand’ for the agri-food sector under the IRC’s COALESCE Programme.

The COALESCE Programme is designed to provide businesses with “support to engage with research and develop innovative solutions”.

The initiative is an excellent example of a collaborative partnership between governmental organisations, working together to deliver innovative research for businesses in the area of food systems and the circular bioeconomy.

Speaking after the announcement today (Thursday, October 22), Minister Heydon said the initiative “will help shape engagement by the agri-food sector in creating more sustainable, healthy and environmentally friendly value-chains, products and services between producers, consumers and citizens”.

Peter Brown, the director of the IRC, explained that “The COALESCE programme in particular seeks to address national and global societal challenges, including those facing Ireland’s agri-food sector.

“The engagement of experts in our public research system builds a robust evidence and knowledge base, ultimately leading to more innovative and sustainable agricultural practices for the social and economic benefit of all,” Brown added.

The COALESCE Programme call launches for applications on Wednesday, October 28, from 4:00pm.

All research-performing organisations that are normally eligible under the department’s research funding programmes are invited to submit applications for funding under the IRC’s programme.

Research proposals are sought that would consider the connections and synergies between rural and urban areas with a focus on an Irish city as a test bed and driver for “sustainable, healthy and regenerative food production and a circular bioeconomy system”.

The results of the research will be made available publicly.