€4.2m to research strategic needs of agri-food, forest and bioeconomy sectors

Evidence-based research integral to formation of public policy, says Irish Government.

The Irish Government has awarded more than €4.2m to support 19 short-term research projects that look specifically at emerging policy and strategic needs of the agri-food, forest and bioeconomy sectors.

The first Policy and Strategic Studies Research Call (PSSRC) was launched by the Department in 2022 as a funding instrument to support evidence-based research which is an integral element in the formation of public policy.

“It is vital that public policy in the agri-food sector is informed by scientific evidence and knowledge”

The 19 successful projects, involving a total of 12 research performing organisations, cover a wide range of topics including climate adaptation, plant health regulation and pesticides, forestry, animal health and welfare, the bioeconomy, and women in farming.

Sustainable priorities

Of particular note are projects assessing the greenhouse gas emission efficiencies of Irish beef and dairy systems; examining sustainable and equitable pathways for rural women in farming; the development of bioeconomy demonstration sites in the Midlands; exploring the impact of deer on biodiversity; and assessing the impact of the sustainable use of pesticides regulatory framework.

“It is vital that public policy in the agri-food sector is informed by scientific evidence and knowledge,” said Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for research and innovation Martin Heydon, TD.

“The work that will be carried out in these projects will contribute directly to the delivery of strategic research and policy actions across a range of priority areas included in the Programme for Government, Food Vision 2030, the Climate Action Plan and elsewhere.”

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine updated its research programme in 2021 by replacing the three strands of FIRM, Stimulus and COFORD with five new strands, one of which is the Strategic Studies Strand. The initial Call under this programme, the ‘Policy and Strategic Studies Research Call’ (PSSRC) supports research that expands the evidence base for the department, informing and supporting the development of policies across the agri-food, forest, and biobased sector

Minister Heydon concluded: “I want to congratulate the researchers involved in these 19 projects for securing funding from what was a competitive call with a rigorous evaluation process. I wish them well in their work and look forward to seeing the results contribute to the development of policies and programmes led by my Department.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.