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New €1 million Project aims to develop Low Carbon Roadmap for Ireland’s Bioeconomy


A new collaborative project aimed at developing a low carbon roadmap for Ireland’s bioeconomy, will be led by Munster Technological University (MTU) with Teagasc, NUI Galway and the Central Statistics Office of Ireland.

Photo above: Members of the INFORMBIO project at their meeting in Teagasc Ashtown. (left to right) Carmen Giron Dominguez (MTU), Dr. Jesko Zimmermann (Teagasc), Prof. Maeve Henchion (Teagasc), Dr. David Styles (NUI Galway), Dr. Réamonn Fealy (Teagasc), James Gaffey (MTU). Missing from Photo - Gerry Brady (Central Statistics Office).

INFORMBIO project

INFORMBIO, funded through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Competitive Research Call, will develop a first Foresight Analysis for Ireland’s bioeconomy, aimed at understanding the available bioresources and value chains which can best contribute to Ireland’s 2050 climate neutrality target. INFORMBIO is one of 24 successful projects from 131 applications funded to a total of €20.1 million under the Dept. of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s 2021 research call.

According to Project Coordinator James Gaffey, Co-director of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group at Shannon ABC in MTU: “Given the enormous potential of Ireland’s land and marine biological resources, the circular bioeconomy has emerged as one of the key opportunity areas to decarbonize primary sectors, and the economy as a whole, in a cost-competitive manner. By integrating bioresource and residue modelling, value-chain analysis, techno-economic assessment, life-cycle assessment, and climate scenario modelling, INFORMBIO, for the first time, attempts to quantify and model the potential of a circular bioeconomy to contribute to Ireland’s climate and sustainability targets”.

David Styles, NUI Galway, will lead on life cycle assessment of priority bio-based value chains co-developed with expert stakeholders: “This timely project provides an excellent platform for rigorous, multi-disciplinary evaluation of an array of promising bio-based value chains, in order to identify where and how bioeconomy development can most effectively deliver climate neutrality and circular economy objectives”. 

The INFORMBIO project will also position Ireland as a front-runner among EU member states, by developing a prototype national bioeconomy monitoring system, enabling Ireland to track the development and progress of the bioeconomy against key bioeconomy indicators.

Role of Teagasc

Réamonn Fealy, working with Teagasc colleagues Maeve Henchion and Jesko Zimmermann in AFBSA, will lead on the design of a prototype monitoring system to benchmark Ireland’s bioeconomy. Speaking about the project Réamonn Fealy said: “Teagasc’s strong commitment to providing scientific leadership in the development of an agri-food sustainable circular bioeconomy is underlined by its inclusion as a specific thematic action in the Teagasc Statement of Strategy 2021-2024. In addition to performing an important gap analysis on current data availability, with our extensive experience in agri-environmental resource assessment, we will employ new, web-based tools, built on a geospatial technology framework, to show the nature, extent, and locations where available, of resources which are relevant to effective bioeconomy monitoring.”

According to Carmen Girón Domínguez, INFORMBIO Project Manager and Researcher at MTU: “the research developed through INFORMBIO will support preparations for a bioeconomy observatory for Ireland, providing a roadmap for Ireland towards implementation of a sustainable bioeconomy, along with the tools to rigorously measure progress towards this objective”.

The project is funded through the Dept. of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s Competitive Research Call, with a budget of €996,429.91 and will run for 4 years, from 1st of March 2022 to 28th of February 2026.