The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., on 10 March 2019 announced a new Call for Research Proposals under the Department’s Research Funding Programmes. The investment in research that will flow from this Call will enable the sector to better respond to policy and regulatory developments, societal demands, technology advances, and trends in consumer behaviour over the next decade.
The Minister reiterated his commitment to research and innovation within the sector, stating: “Publicly funded research is now even more necessary to help drive innovation, competitiveness and long-term sustainability in the agri-food, forest and marine sectors as we prepare for the immediate challenges on the horizon including Brexit, Climate Change and AMR’
The Call invites eligible Research Performing Organisations to submit collaborative research proposals directed at addressing current priority issues across the following four thematic areas that span the entire agri-food, forest and bioeconomy sector:
- Environment & Climate Smart Approaches to Agri-Food Systems
- Animal and Plant Production, One Health & Welfare
- Rural Growth, Digitalisation and the Bio-economy
Under these thematic areas, marine related topics include:
- Novel Technologies in Fisheries
- Evaluating and managing the potential risks associated with arsenic and other trace metals in commercially used seaweeds
- Investigations into the occurrence and distribution of toxic and pathogenic Vibrios and risks to shellfish production in Ireland
- Shelf life and safety of fermented and smoked foods
- Sustainable Food Production and Processing Systems for new and alternative protein sources and diet diversification
- Food Processing /Product Innovations
- Novel Intelligence systems including supply chain management systems
- National food consumption and related surveys
- Novel packaging solutions and safety requirements
- Development of agri-food and bioeconomy districts
The Call is designed to further advance actions in Food Wise 2025 around exploiting opportunities provided through the application of digital technologies and the emergence of the bioeconomy as well as addressing some of the key challenges facing the sector including in areas such as Climate Change, the sustainable use of inputs in animal and crop production, and the need to adopt a systems-based approach to food production, processing, and consumption. Moreover, the involvement, and indeed co-funding, in cash or in kind, of industry is also welcome.
Importantly, as part of the on-going North-South cooperation on agri-food research and innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland, has teamed up with the Department to provide funding under many of the research topics to enable three research performing organisations in Northern Ireland to participate in this Call.
Concluding, the Minister wished the applicants every success with their applications and stated ‘I expect the new knowledge, technologies and innovations that will emerge from this Call to provide valuable evidence for policy development and useful tools to help us meet the strategic growth targets set out in Food Wise 2025 and other strategic reports. I have no doubt that the research and innovation community will take full advantage of this opportunity by submitting excellent proposals and I look forward to following the process over the coming number of months’.
Notes for editor:
The deadline for submission of applications is 1 pm on Thursday 18 April 2019. All documentation in relation to this Call is available on the research section of the Department’s website at the following link: National Call 2019
Applicants are required to apply online, for the first time, through the Department’s Research Online Portal.
The Department has three ‘public good’ competitive research funding programmes that cover the Food, Agriculture and Forestry thematic areas and are collectively referred to as the ‘Department’s Research Funding Programmes’. The three programmes are described briefly here:
- Food Institutional Research Measure (Food) aims to develop platform technologies that underpin a competitive, innovative and sustainable food manufacturing and marketing sector some of which can be further exploited through more industry facing public support programmes.
- Research Stimulus Fund (Agriculture) aims to support 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.
- Programme of Competitive Forest Research for Development (Forestry) aims to develop a scientific foundation and support for a sustainable, competitive, market orientated and innovative forest industry.