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Minister Coveney announces grant awards of €32M for Agri-Food and Forest Research

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, today announced grant awards of approximately €32 million for research projects being undertaken, on a collaborative basis, by researchers from institutions across the island of Ireland.

The awards cover a broad range of research activities relating to sustainable food production and processing as well as forestry. Many of the projects funded are applied and pre-commercial in nature while there is also a heavy emphasis on research involving the modern biosciences. Meat related research features prominently which, when taken with additional investment in dairy research, ensures that the two main parts of the sector continue to be supported to the maximum extent possible.

In general these awards will help maintain research capacity and capability in the Irish public research system that contributes to underpinning the sustainability and competitiveness of the Irish agri-food and forest sector by providing trained expertise; new innovative techniques and technologies to improve farming and manufacturing practices; novel formulations with potential for future commercialisation of new products; as well as robust scientific evidence for policy development.

The Minister reiterated his commitment to targeted research and innovation within the agri-food sector by stating "Publicly funded research will continue to play a key role in driving innovation within the bio-economy thus contributing to the growth targets outlined in the Food Harvest 2020 and ultimately making a positive contribution to the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs".

The Minister pointed out that "the research funded will address many of the opportunities and challenges identified in 'Food Research Ireland' and 'Stimulating Sustainable Agricultural Production through Research & Innovation (SSAPRI)', which in turn are very well aligned with the priority areas identified in the National Research Prioritisation Exercise and I applaud all stakeholders, including industry, for their continuing engagement in the process.

Many of the projects funded involve a farm to fork approach. The Minister welcomed this by saying "I am particularly pleased to see the integrated nature of the research projects being funded as this will play a crucial role in driving innovation in the sector. For example, the project that will look at how animal breeding will impact on meat quality is particularly interesting and innovative.

The Minister added "I am also pleased to see that the issue of sustainability being addressed, at various levels, within many of these research projects. This is entirely consistent with the Think Green, Act Smart, Achieve Growth principles of Food Harvest 2020 as it will help provide a solid verifiable basis to underpin claims about the green credentials of Irish food which will be a major selling point on export markets in the coming years."

The Minister concluded by acknowledging the contribution of industry, with many companies making in-kind contributions through the provision of infrastructure and key industry personnel to projects. He stated"tthe on-going participation of stakeholders, especially industry, in this research as it unfolds is crucial to ensure that it remains relevant to end users needs".

Full details of these awards are set out in Appendix 1. 

Notes for editor:

  1. The awards arise from a Call for Proposals launched in late 2011 under the three competitive, research funding programmes operated by the Department, namely, the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM), the Research Stimulus Fund (RSF), and the Programme of Competitive Forest Research for Development (CoFoRD).
  2. Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) has been in operation since 2000, and is the main programme for funding food research in research performing organisations in Ireland including Teagasc and the Higher Education Institutes (HEI) thereby contributing to building and maintaining a research capability that helps underpin a vibrant, competitive and innovative food manufacturing industry.
  3. Research Stimulus Fund (RSF) aims to facilitate research that fills gaps in the mainstream Teagasc programme, supports sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies, and contributes to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the agriculture sector.
  4. Programme of Competitive Forestry Research for Development (CoFoRD) aimsto develop a scientific foundation and support for a sustainable, competitive, market orientated and innovative forest industry. 
  5. Food Research Ireland is the strategic research agenda that guides all public funding of food research in Ireland.  It was drawn up by an industry-led Food Research Expert Advisory Group and was published in December 2011 following agreement with all relevant stakeholders. It is also very closely aligned with a number of priority areas identified in the National Research Prioritisation Exercise in particular 'Sustainable Food Production and Processing’ and 'Food for Health'.
  6. Stimulating Sustainable Agricultural Production through Research & Innovation (SSAPRI) is the strategic research agenda that guides all public funding of agricultural research in Ireland.  It was drawn up by an industry-led Agriculture Research Expert Advisory Group and was published in December 2011 following agreement with all relevant stakeholders. It is also very closely aligned with a number of priority areas identified in the National Research Prioritisation Exercise in particular 'Sustainable Food Production and Processing'.

Appendix 1- Details of projects funded under Call 2011

No. Project
Title

Principal
Investigator

Institutions
Funded

Award
Amount €

1

Formulation and Design for Food Structure and Stability

Prof Yrjo H. Roos

UCC, Teagasc

649,600

2

Translating fundamental research on Listeria monocytogenes for the benefit of multi-sectoral ready-to-eat food industry

Dr Kieran Jordan

Teagasc, UCC, UL, NUIG, UCD, CIT

1,279,761

3

Smart packaging systems containing novel optochemical O2 and CO2 sensors for the food industry

Prof Dimitri Papkovsky

UCC, QUB

444,493

4

Irish meat & eggs: their fundamental role in promoting vitamin D nutrition and contribution to health & wellbeing

Prof Kevin Cashman

UCC, UCD

484,562

5

Novel prebiotics from plant-derived sugars using bifidobacterial enzymes

Dr Douwe van Sinderen

UCC, Teagasc

234,250

6

Development of consumer accepted low salt & low fat Irish traditional processed meats

Dr Joe P Kerry

UCC, Teagasc

499,721

7

Delivering processed meat products with health benefits

Prof Frank Monahan

UCD, Teagasc, UCC

598,950

8

Decoupling pH & Ionic Effect in Protein Super-Concentrates

Dr Andre Brodkorb

Teagasc, NUIM, TCD

401,700

9

Manufacture, application & assessment of smart packaging concepts consisting of novel nanoparticle technologies (metal & non-metal based) in conventional food packaging systems

Dr Joe P Kerry

UCC, UCD

499,978

10

Translation of pharmaceutical drug delivery to nutraceutical delivery using invitro & in vivo techniques

Dr Jesus Frias

DIT, UCD

477,815

11

Exploration of Irish meat processing streams for recovery of high value protein based ingredients for food & non food uses

Dr Anne Maria Mullen

Teagasc, UCC, UCD, NUIG, ITT

1,433,532

12

Enhancement of texture, flavour & nutritional value of meat products for older people

Dr Ruth Hamill

Teagasc, & UCC

491,306

13

Improving the eating quality of Irish Pork

Dr Paul Allen

Teagasc, UCC

444,908

14

Technologies for the enrichment & recovery of novel bioactive ingredients from plant food processing wastes

Dr Dilip Rai

Teagasc, UCD, DIT

781,483

15

An investigation of Verocytotoxigenic E. Coli super-shedding in beef & dairy cattle & the factors underpinning human virulence potential & strain emergence as a result of vt phage transduction

Dr Geraldine Duffy

Teagasc, UCD, Cork Co Council

943,566

16

Innovative solutions for quality & safety improvement in dairy ingredient manufacture for infant formula

Dr Donal O'Callaghan

Teagasc, UCD

488,376

17

Novel Food Ingredients for the elderly

Dr Paul O'Toole

UCC, Teagasc

500,098

18

Accurate prediction of saleable yield

Dr Paul Allen

Teagasc, ICBF

308,116

19

Novel Pre-treatment regime to enhance the value and quality of vacuum packed retail cuts of beef

Dr Paul Allen

Teagasc, DIT

162,500

20

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients for health enhancement in the older population

Prof R.J.(Dick) Fitzgerald

UL, UCC

495,472

21

Enhancing consumer safety by development of a rapid flow cystometric assay for early detection of coagulase positive Staphylococcus aureus in chilled ready meals.

Dr Martin Wilkinson

UL

92,673

22

Marine Compounds to enhance Productivity &  health in pigs

Prof John O'Doherty

UCD

99,387

23

Expanding the potential for whey protein based encapsulation

Dr Andre Brodkorb

Teagasc

99,780

24

Smartfone delivered anti-tamper food food traceability system based on direct food Data Matrix (DM) printing and change integrity sensors

Prof Shane Ward

UCD

98,749

25

Seaweed extracts to reduce Campylobacter in chickens

Prof Torres Sweeney

UCD

95,195

26

Molecular Biomarkers of Fertility-New Tools for the Cattle Industry

Dr Kieran Meade

Teagasc, TCD, UCD, UL

1,197,447

27

Defining optimal pasture composition and its relationship with management factors in order to maximise dairy and beef productivity, whilst minimising nitrous oxide emissions (urine N output), methane emissions and product taints.

Dr Richard Dewhurst

Teagasc, AFBI, QUB, UCD

610,165

28

Development of ante and post mortem meat inspection of pigs as a welfare diagnostic tool.

Dr Laura Boyle

Teagasc, QUB, UCD, CAFRE

376,672

29

Identifying the Distribution and Extent of Agricultural Land of High Nature Value - (Ideal-HNV)

Dr John Finn

Teagasc, IT Sligo

371,576

30

Classical and Genotypic methods of increasing grassland productivity through breeding

Dr Michael O'Donovan

Teagasc, AFBI

703,472

31

Multi-breed genomic selection in dairy and beef cattle

Dr Donagh Berry

Teagasc, ICBF

376,735

32

Monitoring Pathogen Evolution for sustainable Cropping

Dr Ewen Mullins

Teagasc, UCD, AFBI

759,828

33

Maximising the Genetic Potential of Young Elite Bulls - A Multidisciplinary Approach

Dr Sean Fair

UL, Teagasc, UCD

672,597

34

Crop Quest: New Crop Choices for Irish Growers

Dr Dermot Forristal

Teagasc, UCD

195,782

35

Cereal Improvement through Variety choice understanding Yield Limitations

Dr John Spink

Teagasc, AFBI, UCD

1,342,205

36

Feed evaluation for accurate nutrition

Dr Tommy Boland

UCD, Teagasc, 

959,837

37

Modelling for increased grazing management precision on Irish grassland farms

Dr Pat Dillon

Teagasc, CIT, NUIM

363,868

38

Sustainable nitrogen fertiliser use and Disaggregated Emissions of Nitrogen

Dr Karl Richards

Teagasc, AFBI, UCD

640,177

39

Multidispciplinary programme to deliver improved diagnosis, on-farm strategies, and economic drivers for the control of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis on Irish farms

Prof Stephen Gordon

UCD, Teagasc, CIT, AFBI, QUB

1,496,739

40

Increased environmental efficiency of ruminant production systems through the incorporation of a Life Cycle Assessment into a quality assurance scheme.

Dr Laurence Shalloo

Teagasc, UCD, ICBF

784,554

41

Profitable dry stock enterprise development: Pathways to growth

Dr David Meredith

Teagasc, UCD

188,035

42

Smart Grassland Systems- Innovative Management and Technology Development to Maximise Resourse Use Efficiency

Dr Helen Sheridan

UCD, Teagasc, AFBI

633,046

43

Improving the productivity of heavy wet grassland for delivery  of Food Harvest 2020

Dr James Humphreys

Teagasc, UCD, TCD,

534,925

44

Strategies for controlling cadmium contamination in Irish Food Production

Dr David Wall

Teagasc, UCD, UCC

803,007

45

Genetic selection for improved milk and meat product quality in dairy, beef and sheep.

Dr Donagh Berry

Teagasc, UCD, ICBF

1,155,396

46

Exploitation of the nutritive properties of safe Irish-grown milled oat and barley varieties as functional ingredients in new healthy food formulations

Dr Eimear Gallagher

Teagasc, UCC, UCD

732,354

47

Profitable production of bull beef to market specification while ensuring optimum quality for the consumer

Dr Aidan Moloney

Teagasc, UCD, UCC, ICBF

1,328,701

48

Mining and Modelling: Animal Rotavirus Epidemiology - (MMARE)

Dr Helen O'Shea

CIT, DCU, UCC

99,868

49

Campylobacter Control on Irish Broiler Farms - (Campy- Control)

Dr Paul Whyte

UCD, Teagasc

367,800

50

Targeted Low Cost solutions for control of salmonella in pig production -

Dr Peadar Lawlor

Teagasc, UCD, WIT

599,845

51

Forestry Management for the freshwater pearl mussel

Dr Norman Allott

TCD

78,558

52

Valuing the Ecosystem Services of Forests in Ireland

Dr Aine Ni Dhubhain

UCD, UCC, Teagasc, UL

201,755

53

Additions and refinements to the Irish forest carbon accounting and reporting tool.

Prof Maarten Nieuwenhuis

UCD, UCC, UL, Teagasc

1,485.708

54

Innovation in Irish Timber Usage

Dr Annette Harte

NUIG, QUB

484,663

55

Critical Biomass Removal on Irish Forest Soils

Dr Thomas Cummins

UCD, UL, Teagasc, NUIG

818,001

Date Released: 26 November 2012