Farm Ireland

Thursday 26 April 2018

Irish join new EU research initiative

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Nineteen Irish agencies will be represented in a new EU programme to coordinate nationally funded research in agriculture and food supply.

This initiative, which involves 20 European countries, is being coordinated by Irish commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who has responsibility for research, innovation and science.

It is understood that Teagasc will be among the Irish agencies represented in the initiative, which aims to streamline food and agriculture research across the EU.

The initiative is jointly led by France, through its National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), and the UK, through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

It will bring together researchers, improve the effectiveness of national funding totalling over €1bn annually, share existing research results and coordinate future work to avoid duplication and maximise value for money.

Twelve top scientists met in Paris last week to prepare a European-level work programme. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said the work of the group would be vital for Europe.

"Food security is a stark matter of life and death, and without it there is no other kind of security. Quite rightly, billions are being invested by public and private sector in tackling this huge challenge. But no one member state can succeed on its own," said Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn.

"We can only get full value for public research funds by working together. This joint programming initiative (JPI) will help replace fragmentation and duplication with coherence and coordination and will therefore be a major contribution to the Europe 2020 Strategy."

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Less than 15pc of public civil research is coordinated at European level. Only about 5pc of public research funding is channelled through the EU budget, but the Commission is committed to improving the coordination of the rest.

A Commission statement said the JPI on agriculture, food security and climate change aimed for "a shared vision: to secure a safe and sustainable food supply, while reducing the impact of agriculture on climate change".

As well as the French and British coordinators, it involves Austria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

Irish Independent