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Teagasc takes a Leadership Role in Supporting Research Coordination across Europe

An EU-funded RefreSCAR project, led by Teagasc and aiming to support research coordination across Europe, was launched this week by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture with responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon T.D. A consortium of 18 partner organisations from across Europe gathered in Dublin from 25-26 September 2023 to officially kick-off the project.

Teagasc takes a Leadership Role in Supporting Research Coordination across Europe
On the occasion of the launch of a new EU-funded project called RefreSCAR, pictured were Dr. Raymond Kelly, Head of Research Support in Teagasc, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Martin Heydon T.D., Dr. Órlaith Ní Choncubhair, Project Coordinator of RefreSCAR, Mr. Liam Herlihy, Chairman of the Teagasc Authority, and Professor Frank O’Mara, Director of Teagasc.

Under its Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, the European Commission has committed €9 billion to research on food, agriculture, bioeconomy and the environment. Across the EU Member States, national governments spend hundreds of millions of euro on research every year to advance knowledge and support innovation in this area. A committee exists that brings together EU Member States and other countries with the aim of sharing information on research priorities across Europe and coordinating investments at the national and EU level. This committee is called the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) and covers the area of agriculture, food systems, fisheries, forestry and the wider bioeconomy.

SCAR works through a series of sub-committees (SCAR Working Groups) in specific domains of research, such as food systems. The RefreSCAR project will provide support to the SCAR Working Groups in order to:

  1. increase participation amongst countries that are not currently active
  2. boost the visibility of SCAR
  3. support foresight activities to identify future developments in the food and agricultural sector 
  4. connect researchers, policymakers, farmers and other practitioners so that research can better contribute to policy and practice.

On the occasion of the launch of the RefreSCAR project, Professor Frank O’Mara, Director of Teagasc said: “Teagasc has long been an active contributor to European and international initiatives to coordinate and align research policies and programmes. Taking the leadership role in the RefreSCAR project further demonstrates our commitment to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation system”.

Dr. Órlaith Ní Choncubhair, Senior Research Officer in Teagasc and RefreSCAR coordinator, said: “SCAR is a fundamental part of the infrastructure of the research and innovation system in Europe. No other research area has a dedicated EU committee to support its development. We look forward to supporting the SCAR Working Groups to further enhance cooperation, coordination and information exchange across European countries”. 

The RefreSCAR project commenced on the 1st September 2023 and will run for four years with a budget of €4 million. The consortium includes 18 partner organisations from 14 European countries. It is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme.