The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced £1.6 million in co-funding awards for agri-food and environmental projects. These awards are part of the Research and Development Partnership between DAERA and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The funding from DAERA is available to Northern Ireland research organisations involving at least one research organisation from the Republic of Ireland.
DAERA’s chief scientific adviser, Dr. Alistair Carson, emphasized the importance of research in informing policies and strategies to address future economic, environmental, and social challenges. He highlighted the shared responsibilities between DAERA and DAFM and their commitment to supporting north-south research collaboration in areas of strategic importance. Dr. Carson expressed his delight at the five new collaborative projects being awarded.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is set to benefit from co-funding for five collaborative research projects. These projects cover a range of areas including ash dieback recovery, methane emissions reduction, and alternatives to chemical fertilisers. The successful collaborations and projects include:
– Development and application of transformative genetic, dietary, and manure management technologies to reduce methane emissions from Irish pasture-based beef and dairy production systems – AFBI in partnership with Teagasc, National University of Ireland Galway, Irish Cattle Breeding Federation
– Enteric methane emissions from pasture-based ruminant livestock; Country specific mitigation and emission factors – AFBI in partnership with Teagasc, Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, University College Dublin
– Breeding Fraxinus excelsior (Common or European ash) for dieback disease tolerance to conserve and re-establish ash on the island of Ireland – AFBI in partnership with Teagasc, University College Dublin
– Biostimulants for Grass Production – AFBI in partnership with University College Dublin, Munster Technological University
– Transdisciplinary Interventions to Control Salmonella in Irish Pig Farms – AFBI in partnership with University College Dublin, Teagasc, Animal Health Ireland (AHI)
Over the past seven years, DAERA and DAFM have jointly funded 34 research projects aimed at delivering benefits in the agri-food and environmental sectors. Dr. Carson highlighted the breadth of research being undertaken under this scheme, including work on reducing methane emissions, controlling salmonella in Irish pig farms, and conserving and re-establishing ash on the island of Ireland. He emphasized the importance of transnational research in addressing sustainability issues in the agri-food sector and its contribution to scientific outputs and policy development.