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Teagasc research projects secure significant funding under latest announcement by DAFM

Eight different Teagasc led and collaborative projects will share in the latest round of research funding grants by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which cover areas including the agri-sector, food safety, human nutrition, food processing and sustainable crop production systems

More than €7million worth of funding was awarded to these projects which cover areas including the agri-sector, food safety, human nutrition, food processing and sustainable crop production systems.

The funding was announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation Martin Heydon earlier this month arising from DAFM’s 2021 Thematic Research Call.

Teagasc will be the lead organisation on 50 percent of the projects and will collaborate with other research institutions on the remaining four.

Among the institutions working in conjunction with Teagasc are University College Dublin, UCC, Technological University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Munster Technological University and the Agri-Food Bioscience Institute.

Teagasc Research securing DAFM awards

The successful projects include:

Transforming pasture-based livestock systems through improved design of multi-species mixtures under reduced-nitrogen regimes

This project, co-ordinated by John Finn, Teagasc aims to investigate the optimum proportions of grass: legume: herbs in multispecies mixtures and will examine how low nitrogen application on mixtures can go without compromising yield and quality. University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and Agri-Food Bioscience Institute are collaborating on this project. The total DAFM Award is €1,215,607.77* (* project co-funded by DAERA).

Efficacy & safety of nitrification and urease inhibitors

This project, co-ordinated by Patrick Forrestal, Teagasc in collaboration with University College Dublin, will determine the level of efficacy of a broad suite of EU fertiliser regulation registered urease and nitrification inhibitors. The total DAFM Award is €605,666.14

Novel Nitrate/Nitrite Reduced and Nitrate/Nitrite Free Meats: Safety, Quality and Shelf-life 

This project, co-ordinated by Declan Bolton, Teagasc will develop novel reduced nitrate/nitrite and nitrate/nitrite free meat products, including testing their microbial (food safety and shelf-life), chemical (stability, lipid oxidation and nitrosamine formation) and sensory (appearance, colour, aroma, taste, flavour, texture, aftertaste) attributes. University College Dublin and the Technological University of Dublin are both collaborating with Teagasc on this project. The total DAFM Award is €1,340,199.69.

Evolving grass weed challenges and their impact on the adoption of carbon smart tillage systems 

This project, co-ordinated by Dermot Forristal, Teagasc, will deliver new research, which will include field, glasshouse, molecular and process model studies, focussed on herbicide resistance, integrated weed control and soil carbon loss measurement. Collaborating institutions include Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. The total DAFM Award is €946,220.50.

Virome Analysis of BM-FARM Herds 

Project Vir-FARM, led by Munster Technological University, in collaboration with Teagasc and Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, will explain the virome (virus populations) in samples collected and co-analysed by another ongoing project, BM-FARM, which is studying the microbiome (bacteria populations) and pig physiological biomarkers in Irish pig herds. The total DAFM Award is €434,719.12.

Duckweed as a novel, sustainable source of protein for Ireland 

The aim of the Duck-Feed project, led by UCC with support from Teagasc and TUD, is to develop the pre-requisite expertise and experience to facilitate a roll out of duckweed cultivation in Ireland. The total DAFM Award is €937,717.72.

Examination of the Irish Milk Metabolome for Improved Prediction of Milk Processability and Sustainability 

The MetaBó-Bainne project, led by UCC in collaboration with Teagasc, aims to develop the “Irish Milk Metabolome Database”, an open access online database with metabolites found in Irish milk; their range, and a list of factors that have been demonstrated to affect their composition. This database will serve as an important point of reference for future research, troubleshooting on farm or in-process issues, and for authenticity of Irish milk and dairy products. The total DAFM Award is €532,892.33.

Development of a National Framework for Vitamin D Deficiency Prevention – A Multi-Actor Approach to Nutrition Security 

The VitD-DPI project (Vitamin D-Deficiency Prevention IRELAND), led by UCC with collaboration from Teagasc and UCD, aims to develop, validate and present a policy-ready National Framework for Vitamin D Deficiency Prevention. The total DAFM Award is €1,256,295.02.

The DAFM announcement was made as part of a larger round of 12 research funding grants, valued at €10.7million, being made available across the island of Ireland focusing on agri-food and the bioeconomy. Of the 12 projects, four are being co-funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA NI). The DAFM funding is €9.6 million while the DAERA NI funding accounts for €1.1 million. A total of 36 projects have now been awarded funding from the 2021 Research Call nationally to date.

The investment across all 12 projects will provide direct employment for 27 contract research positions. Educational opportunities will be provided for a further 30 post graduate students in the form of PhDs (22) and Masters (8). These posts will be spread over 11 institutions in Ireland and Northern Island, including: Teagasc, UCD, UCC, UL, TUD, MTU, NUIG, Trinity, ATU and QUB and AFBI in Northern Ireland. 

Speaking following the announcement, Minister McConalogue described the latest investment as further helping to “futureproof” the agri-food and bioeconomy sectors, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of science, and helping to drive innovation and value-add.

“The projects being funded will also help to deliver on many of the commitments in the Food Vision 2030 Strategy and will lead to break-through discoveries that will ultimately build a stronger, more robust and more sustainable agri-food sector,” he said

Find more detail on each of these projects here

Learn more about Teagasc Food Research and Innovation and Environment Research