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Minister Creed Announces Grant Awards of Over €1.8m for Research Projects in the Area of Sustainability

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced awards of over €1.8m for Irish researchers collaborating in major international research projects. The key areas of research relate to greenhouse gas mitigation and sustainable animal production and will be conducted under the European Research Area Networks (ERA-Nets) programme. This programme harnesses collective effort across major international research partners in areas of strategic importance. The funding for these awards comes from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Competitive Research Programme and partnering with Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Programme and the EU.

Announcing the awards today the Minister said The agricultural sector in Europe faces significant challenges in curbing GHG emissions while maintaining food security and sustainable animal production in a changing climate. Today’s research funding announcement will make a significant contribution to strengthening the collaborations of Irish research institutions with their international counterparts and help accelerate Ireland’s efforts in meeting these shared challenges.”

Four projects are funded under the ERA-Net for Monitoring & Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases from Agri- and Silvi-culture (ERA-Gas). This programme aims to strengthen the transnational coordination of research and innovation on greenhouse gas mitigation in the European Research Area. Two of the projects focus on reducing emissions from ruminant animals while land management aspects in terms of soil pH and carbon sequestration are examined in the other two projects.

The remaining two projects are funded under the ERA-Netfor Sustainable Animal Production (SusAn). This ERA-Net funds research on innovative solutions for sustainable livestock production systems in Europe. One will focus on sustainable sheep production while the other will deal with sustainable beef production systems. 

The six awards benefit six different Irish institutions and organisations which along with Teagasc, include a number of our universities (University College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Limerick, and the National University of Ireland, Galway) and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation; all partnering with international institutions. 

Stressing his on-going commitment to achieving the targets set out in the Food Wise 2025 in a sustainable and evidence-based manner, Minister Creed said “Today’s research awards will help further scientific knowledge to inform the pathway to ensuring that environmental protection and economic competitiveness are equal and complementary; one must not be achieved at the expense of the other.

Full details of these awards are set out in the following links:

1. The awards arise from Irish partnered projects successfully emerging in open Calls for Proposals under the two European Research Area Networks - EraGas (Era-Net for Monitoring & Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases from Agri- and Silvi-culture) and SusAn (Era-Net for Sustainable Animal Production)

2. In total €1.85 million in funding has been awarded to six Irish partnered projects, of which:

  • €1.12m is from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Research Stimulus Fund (RSF)
  • €0.44 m is from Teagasc-funded Walsh Fellowship Programme
  • €0.3 m is from EU Horizon 2020 Co-Funding (applicable to Era-Gas funded projects only)

3. The Research Stimulus Fund (RSF) is one of the Department’s three competitive, research funding programmesand aims to fund research that supports sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies, and contribute to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the primary agriculture sector. The Department allocates some funding from its three competitive research funding programmes to support national participation in strategically aligned transnational competitive research Calls. Such participation helps leverage expertise and data, and develops skills and networks.

4. The majority of transnational research funding Calls that the Department supports are undertaken in conjunction with other EU Member States and the EU Commission. Successful projects that arise following a rigorous peer review evaluation process, are made up of research partners from at least three member states with each partner funded by their national funding organization.

5. In support of its mission and objectives, Teagasc operates a postgraduate fellowships programme known as the Walsh Fellowships Programme. Each of the 6 projects funded under the ERA-Nets ERA-Gas and SusAn benefited from an award of Teagasc-funded Walsh Fellowship PhD in addition to the DAFM award under its RSF programme.

6. ERA-GAS is the ERA-NET Cofund for monitoring & mitigation of Greenhouse gases from agri- and silvi-culture. The ERA-GAS Call was an initiative of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI). The aim of ERA-GAS is to strengthen the transnational coordination of research programmes and provide added value to research and innovation on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation in the European Research Area.

7. SusAn is ERA-NET Cofund for Sustainable Animal Production. The aim of this SusAn Call is to mobilise resources and motivate different actors from the animal production sector to cooperate in transnational research consortia with the objective of developing a more sustainable animal production sector in Europe.

8. The ERA-NET Cofund instrument under Horizon 2020 is designed to support the preparation, establishment of networking structures, design, implementation and coordination of joint activities as well as topping up of single joint calls and of actions of a transnational nature. In the case of these awards only the Era-Gas funded Irish-partnered projects have benefited from EU top up funding.

ENDS

Date Released: 22 October 2017