School of Agriculture and Food Science researchers secure awards from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's FIRM and CoFoRD funding programmes.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D., this week announced awards of almost €14.3 million in funding for collaborative research projects arising from last year’s Research Call under his Department’s three competitive research programmes.
Announcing the awards at a briefing in Dublin the Minister said “The projects being funded by my Department will make a significant contribution to the future sustainability, innovation and competitiveness of the Irish agri-food sector”.
Minister Creed continued; “The 23 projects funded cover topics across a wide range of areas including food safety and authenticity; functional foods for health and nutrition; novel food processing technologies; farm safety and animal well-being/ biosecurity; forest inventory and remote sensing, tree breeding and biotic threats. A number of the new projects focus on ensuring the environmental sustainability of our croplands, for example examining the use of multi species swards, the potential of carbon sequestration and sustainable pesticide use.”
A total of 12 Irish Research Performing Organisations will benefit from the awards announced, including Teagasc, the Universities and the Institutes of Technology. The investment across all 23 projects will provide direct employment for 71 contract research positions. Furthermore, education opportunities will be provided for 57 post graduate students in the form of PhDs (47) and Masters degrees (10).
Four UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science researchers have been successful in gaining funding to coordinate research projects under the FIRM and CoFoRD funding programmes, as follows
- Associate Professor Tommy Boland will lead SMARTSWARD: Future Proofing Irish livestock sustainability project.
- Associate Professor Eileen Gibney will lead SCaRES: Seafood Consumption and Risk Exposure Study
- Professor Maarten Nieuwenhuis will lead the LIFOR: LiDAR Integrated FORecasting project
- Dr Breige McNulty will lead NTFC II: National Teen’s Food Consumption Survey II
Full details of the awards here.
The Research Call was heavily influenced by the strategic research agendas drawn up by industry-led, stakeholder advisory groups. The investment is aimed at underpinning the sustainability and competitiveness of the Irish agri-food sector, in line with the Food Wise 2025 strategy, through funding high quality and impactful research that will also build and maintain research capacity and capability in the Irish public research system.
The awards arise from a Call for Proposals launched under the three competitive, research funding programmes operated by the Department, namely, the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM), the Research Stimulus Fund (RSF), and the Programme of Competitive Forest Research for Development (CoFoRD).
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 (HEI) thereby contributing to building and maintaining a research capability that helps underpin a vibrant, competitive and innovative food manufacturing industry.
Programme of Competitive Forestry Research for Development (CoFoRD) aimsto develop a scientific foundation and support for a sustainable, competitive, market orientated and innovative forest industry.
This announcement follows a significant investment of some €72 million in nationally conducted agri-food and forest research over the last five years, together with €7 million in research conducted trans-nationally with other EU member states and the United States.