Some €10m in funding has been announced in new innovation supports for bio-based economy pilot projects, with two separate initiatives able to receive funding of up to €5m each in 2023 under the first funding call.
The funding will support bio-based economy pilot projects in the midland areas including counties Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath and Roscommon, as well as the municipal districts of Ballinasloe, Athy, Clane, Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles.
A second funding round will open to applications in 2024.
The ‘Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative’ is financed under the EU Just Transition Fund and is designed to pilot and demonstrate the bio-based economy.
It will support collaboration between stakeholders along the bio-based value chain, including businesses, researchers, local authorities, primary producers and consumer brands.
Announcing the investment, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue stated that “the bioeconomy has significant potential to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the agri-food sector”.
“For example, it is now possible to replace products produced from fossil-resources with those produced by bio-resources from land and sea, including new bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides, high protein food and feed, bio-based plastics and textiles, and much more besides.
“Utilising biomass, including bio-wastes, from agriculture, food production and processing in this circular way means we can extract more value from our agri-food system, while simultaneously improving overall environmental and climate sustainability.”
Building on previous funding
Minister of State Martin Heydon remarked that “the just transition funding for bioeconomy demonstration initiatives in the midlands will build on the research and innovation capacity that has been developed through previous funding of more than €25m by my Department”.
The potential the bioeconomy poses to farmers in the midlands was raised by Minister of State Pippa Hackett.
"We have secured a total of €20m for bioeconomy demonstration initiatives in the midlands under the Just Transition Fund,” she said.
“Through this year’s call, we are seeking proposals to develop bio-based products, services and jobs that will help us move to a more sustainable, climate-neutral economy here in the midlands.
“I’m looking forward first of all to seeing the successful proposals getting up and running in the midlands and ultimately then seeing their pilot projects replicated across Ireland and further afield in years to come.”
Applications must be submitted online with a closing date of 13 October 2023.