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Teagasc publish map compilation to accompany the Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2023

Teagasc is an active participant in the annual Bioeconomy Ireland Week. Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2023 is a week-long event running from the 16th to 20th of October to highlight and raise awareness of Ireland’s rapidly emerging bioeconomy. The celebration is a collaboration of events and awareness raising initiatives involving industry, local and regional communities, primary producers, researchers, NGO’s and students throughout Ireland.

This year’s theme is “Empowering Ireland’s Bioeconomy for a Greener Tomorrow”. During the week, a broad range of stakeholders from across Ireland’s bioeconomy will demonstrate and share how individually and collectively the bioeconomy is being developed. The ultimate aim is to address climate action and a healthy environment in a sustainable and circular way, whilst helping to achieve a fair and prosperous society through innovative and collaborative approaches.

As in previous years, Dr Jesko Zimmermann, Teagasc will collaborate with various partners within the Irish bioeconomy sector to produce a compilation of maps. The compilation consists of interactive Story Maps and highlights several aspects of specific events held during the week, as well as aspects relating to the Irish bioeconomy in general. 

The first map gives an overview of all the events planned as part of the Bioeconomy Ireland Week. Produced in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) and the Irish Bioeconomy Forum, it showcases the full range of activities, giving people an opportunity to find an event near them. 

The second map accompanies a special initiative organised by BiOrbic SFI research centre. BiOrbic is launching the BioBus, a mobile exhibit travelling across Ireland to showcase the potential of the Irish bioeconomy. “The bioeconomy is crucial for Ireland to become sustainable, yet most citizens haven't heard about it. We want to bring this information directly to people so they can both be informed and active in our sustainable transition.” Amanda Mathieson, Public Engagement Manager at BiOrbic says about the tour. The map will show when and where the BioBus will be during the five week tour offering an opportunity for local, hand-on engagement.

The third map showcases a new framework to assess the sustainability of adopting biomass feedstocks. This has been developed as part of the multi-institutional DAFM-funded INFORMBIO project. Stemming from a collaboration between Munster Technological University, University of Galway, the Central Statistics Office and Teagasc, the map shows how the framework can assess multiple biomass sources on various aspects of sustainability. “Expanding the bioeconomy promotes sustainable resource use and can reduce our environmental footprint. However, introducing new feedstocks (source materials) into the bioeconomy may entail some initial negative effects during feedstock acquisition. Assessing potential risks to the environment can help us choose the best materials to use and identify areas where we might need to take special measures to protect the environment. This way, we aid in the continued growth of the bioeconomy and its benefit to the environment in the years ahead", George Bishop, researcher at the University of Galway said.

The fourth map will highlight some of the international impact of Irish led bioeconomy research. The Horizon Europe funded ROBIN project, led in Ireland by the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group at Munster Technological University and the Southern Regional Assembly in partnership with several institutions across Europe provides support to co-shape the governance structures and models of regional authorities. To achieve this they developed an inventory of best practices which we show in the map. Robert Ludgate, researcher at Munster Technological University, said; “Our project will help regional authorities accelerate the deployment of their circular bioeconomy targets, while also promoting social innovation and accounting for different territorial contexts.”

The final map will be launched as a long-term resource for Irish bioeconomy research. The map will be a portal that lists bioeconomy focussed research projects currently carried out by or in collaboration with Irish institutions. Produced by Teagasc in collaboration with DAFM, DECC and the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation, the map will provide a hub for everyone to inform themselves about the state of the Irish research in the area, and to explore potential collaborations. 

The maps will be published starting from 12th October 2023 and will be available on the Teagasc homepage here