• Pippa Hackett

Ministers of State announce Irish involvement in new European agri-biodiversity research network

Press Release 21 March 2022

Martin Heydon T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with special responsibility for research and innovation, and Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State with special responsibility for biodiversity and land use, today announced Irish participation in a new European Research Area Network (ERA-NET) funding initiative on agricultural biodiversity. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will provide €1.5 Million to support Irish involvement in the Network, while Teagasc will also provide €288,000 in support, in the form of three Walsh Scholarships.

Making the announcement, Minister Heydon said “this new Joint Research Call will bring Irish researchers together with European and International colleagues, to provide practical and policy-relevant knowledge on how agrobiodiversity can improve agricultural ecosystems, especially those most at risk. My Department will commit €1.5 million to this important Call, building on significant previous investment in this area, including most recently The Horizon Europe Partnership on Biodiversity, BiodivERsA+, which aimed to support the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems across land and sea. A central element of the Food Vision 2030 Strategy is to restore and enhance biodiversity. Investment in research in this area is key to delivering on this commitment.”

The Agrobiodiversity research call aims to investigate approaches to improving biodiversity at a landscape level, while also identifying the opportunities and obstacles to diversification that can help reinvigorate farming practices for the benefit of farmers and ecosystems.

For her part, Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Biodiversity and Land Use stated “I warmly welcome the involvement of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Teagasc in this new European agrobiodiversity research call. As Minister with responsibility for biodiversity and land use, I have regularly highlighted the essential role that farmers play in addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis. I believe that support for research in this area is a critical enabler for those farmers to implement practices which will enhance the wide range of habitats and ecology on their farms. Along with my colleague Minister Heydon, I strongly encourage Irish researchers to apply to this important Call, which will protect and enhance our biological diversity but also lead to the development and implementation of sustainable and diverse agricultural production practices”.
  • Irish financial support for the Joint Call on Agrobiodiversity is being provided through the DAFM Research Programme and the Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme.

  • The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Research Programme aims to fund research that supports sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies, and contribute to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the agri-food sector. The Department allocates some funding from this mechanism in support of national participation in strategically aligned international competitive research Calls. Such participation helps leverage expertise and data, and develops skills and networks.

  • The majority of transnational research funding Calls that DAFM supports are undertaken in conjunction with other EU Member States and the EU Commission. Successful projects that arise following a rigorous peer review evaluation process are made up of research partners from at least three member states with each partner funded by their national funding organisation.

  • Detailed information on the Call scope, application guidelines, eligibility criteria and available funding are provided through the Joint Action Secretariat

  • FACCI JPI is the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change bringing together 24 member countries. SusCrop is an ERA-Net Cofund Action that aims to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of Sustainable Crop Production.

  • Both FACCE JPI and SusCrop have collaborated to develop this Joint Call on Agrobiodiversity in support of the evidence base for agriculture policy makers and practitioners in the area of biodiversity and crop diversity in agricultural landscapes across Europe. The Joint Call’s aim is to leverage funding, expertise and resources from national and regional research organisations and funders from across the European Research Area to deliver collaborative projects on agrobiodiversity at scale

  • The Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme promotes the scientific and technical capacity of the Irish agri-food sector as well as closer collaboration between Teagasc and third level institutions across the island of Ireland, Europe, the US and the southern hemisphere. The programme covers all aspects of agriculture, horticulture, food, agri-food economics, rural development and rural environment, as well as specific topics identified for priority funding each year.

ENDS