Some €2m in funding has been committed to new European research partnerships on agro-ecology and animal health and welfare by the Department of Agriculture, with a research call now open.

The partnerships aim to work with farmers, asking them to co-develop, test and monitor new practices, approaches and technologies in real-life contexts.

Minister of State with responsibility for innovation Martin Heydon said at the launch of the partnerships that this research will help agricultural sustainability into the future.

“Ensuring the sustainability of agricultural systems, economically, environmentally and socially, is a critical issue.

New solutions

“I see research that involves farmers as vital for the development of new solutions and technologies to support sustainable production systems on farm,” he said.

Research partnerships are a new model under the Horizon Europe research programme, which will see agriculture, forestry and rural areas benefit from increased research and innovation funding.

The partnerships enable greater co-operation to address national and European priorities through the pooling of expertise and resources, as well as harnessing additional private and public research investments.

A further partnership on sustainable food systems will be launched later this year.

Research call

The call is open to applications from eligible Irish research performing organisations.

Participation, in line with funding regulations, from non-profit organisations, consumers or citizens, civil society representatives and private companies is also encouraged.

This represents the first research call supported by the Department under Horizon Europe’s European partnership programme.

The call announcement comes alongside the formal launch event for the partnerships that took place in Brussels from 26 to 28 February.

“The launch of these Horizon Europe partnerships represents a crucial milestone in our effort to build a more sustainable, resilient and competitive agricultural sector in Europe.

“By pooling our resources, expertise and knowledge, we can address the complex challenges facing agriculture more effectively and pave the way for a more prosperous future,” Minister Heydon said.