Agricultural research performing organisations (RPOs) have been encouraged to put forward proposals for collaborative projects with partners from Northern Ireland (NI) and the United States (US) under the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture with special responsibility for research and innovation Martin Heydon TD opened the 2022 call for agricultural proposals on Friday.

The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is a product of the NI peace process and involves the Irish, NI and US governments working together for scientific progress by awarding grants for research on a competitive basis.

The partnership was launched in 2006 and, to date, a total combined funding of €105.7m ($125.6m) has been awarded to 65 projects in seven priority areas, including agriculture, energy and sustainability.

Agriculture research applicants responding to the call could secure funding for a maximum of five years and up to €350,000 from the Department of Agriculture per successful project.

New phase

The collaboration between the three governments has been in operation for 16 years. However, Minister Heydon said it has now entered a “new phase”, with an expanded range of research opportunities.

The minister said that “this follows a review of the partnership undertaken by my department” along with the equivalent departments in NI and the US.

He said: “The 2022 agriculture call reinforces the importance of international scientific collaboration on critical research topics, while also extending new opportunities for the co-funding of joint research proposals."

Research areas

The Fine Gael minister said: “Six additional research areas have been included in the latest call, providing 12 research areas in total that are open to joint research proposals from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US.

The agricultural research areas for which proposals are sought include:

Pests and beneficial species in agricultural production systems.

Animal nutrition, growth and lactation.

Welfare of agricultural animals.

Diseases of agricultural animals.

Animal breeding, genetics and genomics.

Mitigating antimicrobial resistance across the food chain.

Sustainable bio-economy through bio-based products.

Sustainable agroecosystems: health, functions, processes and management.

Bio-refining and bio-manufacturing.

Agricultural microbiomes in plant systems and natural resources.

Data science for food and agricultural systems.

Inter-disciplinary engagement in animal systems.

There are a number of different deadlines for proposals across each of these subject areas and interested parties are encouraged to review these at the Department’s information page here.

Minister Heydon said the “new tri-partite call between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US” delivers on the commitments laid out on research within Food Vision 2030.

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