Minister of state with responsibility for research and development Martin Heydon has encouraged Irish researchers to apply to the €62m Horizon Europe soil mission call.

The European Commission funds research to protect and restore soils in Europe through the 'Soil Deal for Europe' mission. The mission has recently launched a call for proposals.

The Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland, wants eligible Irish applicants to submit research proposals to the research call.

The initiative offers the Irish research community targeted funding opportunities in eight diverse areas, including the social, economic and cultural factors driving land management, developing indicators for soil health and functions and linking soil health to nutritional and safe food.

Sequestering carbon

Launching the research call, Minister Heydon said: “Good soil health is critical in sequestering carbon, producing nutrient-dense food, supporting biodiversity, building resilience against climate change and much more besides.

“Food Vision 2030 sets out a range of actions that need to be taken to achieve these objectives and participating in this Horizon Europe soil mission is one such action.

“I therefore strongly encourage Irish researchers to submit applications to this significant research call and my Department, through its participation in the Irish support team, will help in any way it can to ensure strong Irish participation.”

The programme is currently open for applications and the deadline for submissions is 24 March 2022, with projects expected to commence in November 2022.