Minister Heydon announces awards of €1.7 million for soil, agri-digital research

August 3, 2023 | Government of Ireland | Source

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine with responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon, has announced funding awards totaling over €1.7 million for five research projects in the fields of soils and agri-digital research in Ireland.

The European Joint Programme on Agricultural Soil Management (EJP Soil) will receive nearly €1 million in funding for two projects. These projects, in collaboration with University College Dublin, Teagasc, and the Tyndall National Institute, will focus on developing innovative sensing technologies for monitoring and mapping soil management practices and exploring climate-smart cropping systems to enhance carbon sequestration and the cycling of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients.

Over €0.5 million will be allocated to two projects under the European Research Network for ICT Agri-Food. These projects, involving UCD and Munster Technological University, will investigate applications of artificial intelligence in farming and the use of ICT for traceability and transparency in the food and beverage industry.

Furthermore, approximately €280,000 will support a project under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership, where Trinity College Dublin will collaborate with partners from the United States and Northern Ireland to study biochar for excess soil phosphorus sorption and slow-release mechanisms for sustainable crop production.

Minister Heydon emphasized the importance of soil research in carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, climate change resilience, and food systems. He also highlighted the potential of agri-digitalization and artificial intelligence to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and resilience in the agricultural and food sectors.

These research initiatives aim to foster collaboration between Irish researchers and international partners to address critical challenges in agriculture, soil management, and food production.

The funding, amounting to €1,777,914, is provided through the DAFM Research Programme, supporting projects across the EJP Soil, ICT-AGRI-FOOD, and US-Ireland R&D Partnership research calls.