Minister of State with special responsibility for research and development at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon has announced funding of €22.3m for 21 new research projects arising from the Department’s 2023 thematic research call. 

When combined with the first tranche of successful projects announced in 2023, the overall funding is €46m, the largest ever committed by the Department for a research call. 

Minister Heydon said that the funding will see research work being conducted across a wide range of areas including low emissions dairy production, carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, developing farmland nature credits, optimising oat production and processing for healthy foods, assessing the impact of deer in forestry, advancing the Irish wool sector, sustainable packaging materials and improving shelf life of dairy products, among others.  

The 21 new projects will investigate topics including:

  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation. 
  • Water quality and biodiversity.
  • Animal health and welfare.
  • Antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance.
  • Food safety.
  • Food health and nutrition.
  • Food packaging.
  • Bioeconomy.
  • This investment builds on the first tranche of projects that received funding last December, the minister said.

    “Taken together, these represent an overall investment of €46m, the largest ever from a research call run by my Department.

    "This investment will help equip the Irish agriculture, food, forest and bio-economy sectors with the science and technology they need to become even more sustainable and competitive into the future,” he said.

    Minister Heydon highlighted that the funding will support 48 postgraduate student positions and a further 55 postdoctoral and contract researchers across the 17 institutes receiving funding.

    Combined with the projects announced in tranche one, this amounts to support for over 200 research positions.

    “Practices across the agri-food, forest and bio-economy sectors are always evolving and Ireland should be at the forefront of these developments.

    "A steady pipeline of new solutions is the cornerstone of increasing economic, environmental and social sustainability and the next step is for the output of these projects to reach end-users such as farmers, advisers, policy makers and industry stakeholders,” he said.

    Northern Ireland

    As part of the ongoing north-south co-operation on agri-food research and innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland, collaborated in this research call by providing funding to enable eligible research organisations in Northern Ireland to participate in projects with partners in Ireland.

    Two projects will benefit from this collaboration in this tranche two list.