Ireland Commits €2M to Innovative European Research Partnership

Mar 5, 2024 | Innovation

Minister Martin Heydon T.D, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, specialising in research and innovation, has committed €2 million to a new European research Partnership focusing on ‘Agroecology’ and ‘Animal Health and Welfare.’ This financial commitment signifies a substantial progression under the Horizon Europe Research Programme, intending to enhance funding for research and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas. The initiative is part of a broader strategy, with a separate Partnership on Sustainable Food Systems set to launch later this year. These Research Partnerships promote collaboration by pooling expertise and resources to address both national and European priorities while also attracting additional investments from public and private sectors.

Minister Heydon emphasised the critical role of involving farmers in research for developing sustainable solutions, announcing the allocation of €2 million for the initial Call for proposals under the ‘Fostering agroecology at farm and landscape level’s Partnership.’ This Partnership aims to drive innovation by involving farmers in the co-development, testing, and monitoring of new practices, approaches, and technologies in real-life agricultural contexts.

The Call is open to eligible Irish Research Performing Organisations participating in international research consortia, and the involvement of non-profit organisations, consumers, civil society representatives, and private companies is encouraged. This represents the initial research call supported by the Department under Horizon Europe’s European Partnership Programme, signifying a novel approach to addressing societal challenges.

The announcement coincides with the formal launch event of the Partnerships for Agroecology and Animal Health and Welfare in Brussels. Minister Heydon sees these Partnerships as a pivotal step towards establishing a more sustainable, resilient, and competitive agricultural sector in Europe. He anticipates further research Calls under different Partnerships throughout 2024. The European Partnerships, facilitated by the European Commission, bring together public and private entities to tackle pressing challenges through joint research and innovation initiatives, serving as a key tool for Horizon Europe implementation.

The first open call, “Fostering agroecology at farm and landscape levels,” is supported by the European Partnership on Accelerating Farming Systems Transition: Agroecology Living Labs and Research Infrastructure (AELLRI), with the goal of advancing sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices. Irish financial support for this initiative is provided through the DAFM Research Programme and the Teagasc Walsh Scholarships Programme, amounting to a total of €2,372,000. The Department/Teagasc will fund successful Irish applicants across all themes of the Call.

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