Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon has announced the allocation of €1.5m in grants for four research groups to study soils.
The research will allow for a better understanding of how soils can better contribute towards climate and biodiversity goals, commented Minister Heydon, who has responsibility for research and innovation in the Department of Agriculture.
The four Irish research groups will collaborate with other research initiatives through the European Joint Programme’s soil project.
“Soil is the foundation of everything we do in agriculture. Food Vision 2030 highlights that soil is critical in terms of agricultural output, producing healthy food, sequestering carbon and supporting habitats and biodiversity,” Minister Heydon said on announcing the funds.
“The research we are funding will be highly relevant to Ireland, covering areas such as carbon sequestration, soil health and the role of soils in mitigating emissions of greenhouse gases.”
A soil mission mirror group has been established to maximise Ireland’s impact on the Horizon Europe mission ‘A soil deal for Europe’.
Some €142m in funding has been granted by the EU to the Horizon Europe’s soils mission for 2023 to 2024.
Also announced by Minister Heydon was an expansion of the US-Ireland research and development partnership to include soil health.
The minister commented that the research partnership had been a successful initiative, which would benefit from expanding its scope to soils.
“This expansion will ensure that researchers from across Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States can collaborate on projects that seek to deepen our understanding of the factors influencing, protecting and enhancing soil health,” said Minister Heydon.
“The announcements I have made today will contribute to Ireland’s ambition of raising awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by focusing on what’s beneath our feet.”