Minister Heydon announces grant awards of over €1 million under two transnational European Research Area Networks

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The Minister of State at the Department of  Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D., today announced awards by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of over €1 million for Irish researchers, collaborating in five international research projects. These awards arise under European Research Area Networks (ERANETs) co-funded competitive research Calls and relate to information and communications technology (ICT) and data innovations in the agri-food system, and the improvement of animal health via novel vaccine technology platforms and diagnostics.

Announcing the awards today the Minister said, “I am delighted to announce the five new funding awards for Irish-based researchers to allow them partner and collaborate with their European counterparts. This will further strengthen existing scientific linkages and develop international capacity and capability in the Irish research sector and keep us to the fore in delivering innovation in the Agri-food sector.”

Four projects are funded under the ICT-AGRI-FOOD ERANET (ICT-enabled Agri-Food Systems) research Call that supports the development of new data-driven ICT solutions and platforms, and ways to address barriers for technology adoption by end-users with the aim to reduce the environmental footprint, increase resilience and improve food security in agri-food systems. Two of the projects, HALY.ID and TailBiteAdvice, aim to develop innovative ICT-based advisory tools for farmers to monitor and target, respectively, the sustainable management of agricultural crop pests and the minimisation of tail biting in pigs. The SPECTROFOOD project looks to apply spectral techniques for quality characterisation of fruit and vegetable crops for use in the supply chain and to reduce food waste; while the project, MUSHNOMICS, aims to unlock data-driven analytics and innovation to optimize yields, lower costs and improve the economic viability in the mushroom value chain.

The remaining project is funded under the ICRAD ERANET (the International Co-ordination of Research on Infectious Animal Diseases) research Call that supports the development and integration of new tools and systems for improved prevention and preparedness to combat infectious animal disease outbreaks. The funded project, BM-FARM, looks to develop new techniques to reduce and prevent antimicrobial resistance on pig farms.

The funding has been awarded to three different Irish research institutions, including University College Dublin, the Tyndall National Institute and Teagasc, for the research contribution and collaboration with research institutions and organisations from 10 different European countries. 

Minister Heydon concluded, “Today’s announcement will further deepen Ireland’s involvement in selective, strategically important, international, agri-food research initiatives and the successful projects funded under these Horizon 2020 ERANET Calls will be key enablers of innovation in the agri-food sector and will contribute to the key strategic themes of Food Wise 2025 – competitiveness, innovation and sustainability.”

Details of these projects are set out on the websites of the two ERANETs – ICT-AGRI-FOOD and ICRAD.