The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, said today that he was delighted to learn that a number of researchers from Irish research institutes and agri-food SME’s are participants in successful consortia to be funded under the EU’s 2010 Research Call under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).
Irish researchers are involved in 20% of the recent awards by the EU Commission in the Theme Area covering Food, Agriculture & Fisheries, and Biotechnology.
The value of funding to Irish researchers is in excess of €6.1 million.
The successful applicants included Teagasc, the Marine Institute, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, and Limerick Institute of Technology. “It is important for Irish researchers to participate in European collaborative programmes” the Minister said “and this recent success indicates the high quality of research being conducted at Irish research institutes”. He congratulated in particular Dr Susanne Barth of Teagasc who is leading a research team from 10 countries, on a project to enhance biomass production from marginal lands with perennial grasses.
Minister Coveney went on to acknowledge the on-going success of Irish researchers who, have secured over €20.3 million in research funding to date under FP7 since 2007. The Minister added that “the level of funding secured is 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 attributed the success of Irish researchers to the strong research capability and expertise built up over the years as a result of national funding particularly through the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) and Stimulus programmes operated by the Department. These programmes had provided a significant amount of national funding to develop the collaboration between research institutions and the know-how which created the conditions for success at European level. This national funding has built up a strong scientific cadre of Irish agri-food researchers and provides the basis which will undoubtedly assist them to compete in future calls under the EU Programme.
“I now encourage”, the Minister said, “researchers in Irish institutes and agri-food SMEs alike to pursue FP7 funding opportunities as aggressively as possible given that the amounts available will rise significantly under the two remaining Calls in 2012 and 2013″ before adding that “the administrative procedures have been simplified, the support is available through my Department and Enterprise Ireland, and the prize is certainly worthwhile”.
The Minister concluded by saying “I look forward to learning about even greater success in the year ahead”.