Awards of almost €2.2m for Irish researchers participating in European research initiatives were announced by Minister of State with responsibility for research and development Martin Heydon.

Just over €1.45m in funding is being awarded to Irish researchers in five projects under the European Green ERAHUB which supports research into sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Two of these projects, SustainSheep and NutriStorm, are being led by Irish researchers from Teagasc and the University of Limerick (UL), respectively.

SustainSheep will investigate the development of new breeding goals for sheep to reduce methane emissions.

NutriStorm will investigate ways to enhance fertiliser efficiency by minimising soil nutrient loss through leaching, runoff and emissions.

The other projects with Irish collaboration include LIFE from University College Dublin (UCD) and Fertigo from Teagasc. They will examine ways to reduce fertiliser use through novel nutrient solutions from agriculture wastes, and the innovative use of new cover crop species to stabilise nitrogen in soils, improve phosphorus utilisation, and conserve of soil nutrients.

Dairy wastes

DARE2CYCLE, will see researchers from the University of Galway (UG) investigate innovative upcycling processes of dairy wastes and residues into valuable microbial protein contributing to protein self-sufficiency in Europe.

The ForestValue2 initiative will research resilient and sustainable forest and timber building systems. Under this research initiative, €740,000 is being awarded to the UG and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) for the CRESTIMB project. They will collaborate with scientists across Europe to develop innovative timber systems suitable for multi-storey buildings.

Minister Heydon said: “These projects further demonstrate our dedication to innovative research to provide solutions for greenhouse gas emissions and fertiliser use reduction, new protein sources and the novel use of timber in the sustainable construction of large-scale buildings. I am confident that together, these projects can bring about solutions to our common challenges and help to achieve greater impact for our agri-food and forest sectors.”