Innovation will be “critical” to achieving the Food Vision 2030 objectives for agriculture, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.
The minister was speaking as Science Week 2021 comes to a close.
“The recently published Food Vision 2030, sets an ambitious vision for agriculture, one that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, with farmers, foresters and fishers very much at the centre of this vision.
“Innovation is critical to achieving this vision, with our sector embracing new and innovative ways of doing things all the time.
“My Department has a long and successful track record of supporting research and innovation through core funding for Teagasc and the Marine Institute, developing critical solutions to the key sectoral challenges of our time on an ongoing basis,” he said.
He added that the Department has also operated competitive research funding programmes for many years, supporting innovation across the sector.
“Since 2010, my Department has allocated almost €150m to scientific research addressing sustainable agriculture and food production, plant and animal health, animal welfare, food safety, food technology and innovation, bioeconomy, nutrition and forest research,” he said.
Minister of State with responsibility for research Martin Heydon added that the collaborative nature of the Department’s competitive research funding programme facilitates broader research across institutions.
“This approach is enhanced by the operation and running of joint research calls with other Irish funders, such as the EPA. It is further broadened through participation in international research calls within European Research Area Networks as well as joint calls with Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland and the United States Department of Agriculture”.
Minister Heydon said: “It is envisaged that future research funding opportunities will contribute to the development of a sustainable food system and bioeconomy and will have a specific focus on climate neutrality of primary production, circular management of resources, sustainable and healthy food systems, reversing biodiversity decline, prevention and removal of pollution and the further development of the bioeconomy.”
Both ministers emphasised the importance of emerging science and innovation in delivering on the sector’s commitments under the recently published Climate Action Plan 2021.
The Department anticipates announcing the results of its 2021 competitive research call in the coming weeks.