By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Smith emphasises the Importance for Investment in Agri-Food and Fisheries Sciences Research

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today said that "the Irish agri-food industry, from farm to fork, must be fully engaged in developing the research agenda to ensure that European research fulfils its potential."

Minister Smith was speaking at a conference organised by his Department to launch a booklet highlighting the success of Irish researchers who, under the EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, have secured over €8.5 million to date in research funding.  The Minister described the level of funding secured as "very significant and a clear demonstration of the essential need to continue Ireland's investment in R&D, particularly in relation to our most important indigenous sector and especially given the economic challenges facing both the country and the industry."

The Minister paid tribute to the 30 successful Irish researchers and, in particular, the two Irish co-ordinators - Professors Mike Gibney and Patrick Wall, both from the UCD Food and Health Institute.

Minister Smith said that the involvement of Irish scientists and researchers in the Irish agri-food and fisheries' sciences, over the past three years, and the continuing need to emphasise the importance of industry involvement in research, demonstrated "the essential place of the Irish agri-food sector in the Government's Smart Economy agenda."

The current economic challenges as well as those posed by climate change, energy supply and food security have all pushed agricultural and food production up both the domestic and European political agendas and have emphasised the need for international research collaboration.  "These are challenges of a global nature that we simply cannot tackle in isolation, it is essential that we engage internationally to develop strategies that mitigate against and adapt to these challenges", the Minister concluded.

Notes for Editors:

The European Union's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) is the EU's main instrument for supporting collaborative research, development and innovation in science, engineering and technology.  It is the largest public good research programme in the world, with a budget of €50 billion over 7 years.  €1.9 billion is dedicated to the theme Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology:  In the current economic circumstances, FP7 is one source of research funding that is not diminishing.  It is increasing year on year.  It is the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's stated strategy to develop internationalisation in our research system and FP7 represents the most obvious mechanism of achieving that aim; The Department employs a National Delegate (Richard Howell) and National Contact Point (Dr John Dardis) to assist researchers and ensure maximum Irish participation;  Further contact on FP7 is available from Dr John Dardis, by e-mail at   The FP7 "success booklet" is available from Research Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 and will be available online at

Date Released: 29 April 2010