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Minister Heydon announces availability of over €2.5 million funding for soil and agri-ICT research initiatives

Minister Heydon announces availability of over €2.5 million funding for soil and agri-ICT research initiatives  


Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon, T.D., today announced over €2.5 million in research funding for Irish participation in two important European research initiatives on soil and agri-ICT research.


€1.5 million will be provided for a new European Joint Programme (EJP) on Agricultural Soils research funding call, while over €1 million in funding will also be made available for a European Research Area Network (ERA-NET).


The aim of the EJP-Soil Call is to provide knowledge on farming practices and soil health that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Among other things, it will support research to assess farm level carbon balances to enhance implementation of climate action at farm level. The research also has the potential to connect in with national research being conducted, such as through the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory and the pilot Soil Sampling Programme.


Meanwhile, the ‘ICT-AGRI-FOOD’ ERA-NET aims to bring researchers together with actors from across the entire agri-food system, including primary producers, advisors, SMEs, processors, retailers, consumers and public policy and regulatory bodies to enable digital technology solutions for a transition towards sustainable and transparent agri-food systems.


Speaking on today’s announcement, Minister Heydon stated “I am delighted to announce funding for these two important European research initiatives which will enable Irish researchers’ to take part. The topics under investigation in the ICT Call include technologies for improved food system transparency, barriers, and data for more sustainable farming practices. which tie in very closely with many of the commitments in the Food Vision 2030 Strategy.”


In relation to the EJP-Soil Call, the Minister said “Food Vision 2030 also highlights that good soil health is critical in terms of agricultural output, producing nutrient-dense food, sequestering carbon, supporting habitats and biodiversity, and building resilience against climate change. This call will enable us to improve our understanding of soils sequestration and storage potential, improve their health and productivity, and better map soil carbon and nutrient profiles.”


Minister Heydon concluded by saying “the opening of these research Calls comes on foot of a number of others I have recently announced, including €1.5 million for a new European research Call on agro-biodiversity, a further €0.5 million to enable Irish participation in a European led ‘Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ Call, as well as the opening of the 2022 Call for proposals in agricultural research under the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership. I am committed to ensuring Irish researchers have the appropriate access to national and international research funding in areas of priority for us to ensure we are to the forefront of devising solutions for our farmers and the wider agri-food sector.”


Notes for editor

  • The DAFM Research Programme aims to fund research that supports sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies and contribute to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the agri-food sector. DAFM allocates some funding from this mechanism in support of national participation in strategically aligned international competitive research Calls. Such participation helps leverage expertise and data and develops skills and networks.
  • The majority of transnational research funding Calls that DAFM supports are undertaken in conjunction with other EU Member States and the EU Commission. Successful projects that arise following a rigorous peer review evaluation process are made up of research partners from at least three member states with each partner funded by their national funding organisation



  • The European Joint Programme (EJP) SOIL started in February 2020, to create an integrated framework for agricultural soil research in Europe.
  • This is the 2nd International EJP Soil Research Funding Call. It is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Irish financial support for the EJP Soil Call is being provided through the DAFM Research Programme
  • Detailed information on the Call scope, application guidelines, eligibility criteria and available funding are provided through the EJP Soil website and via the Department’s Website



  • More information about the Call is available at the following link: - European Research Area Networks (ERANETs) ( and through the central ICT-AGRI-FOOD Call website.
  • The ICT-AGRI-Food ERA-NET is a network of ministries, agencies and research institutes from 22 countries.
  • The 2022 Joint Call under this ERANET allows project submissions across four areas, including the development of technologies that make agri-food systems more transparent for consumers and other stakeholders along the value chain, the identification of barriers, and solutions, for adoption of ICT technologies in agri- food systems, the promotion of digital tools that are connected to each other, and the development and evaluation of data-driven incentive systems to support sustainable and resilient farm management practices.
  • The Call will be funded by government departments and agencies from 22 countries. The total indicative funding provided for Irish applicants is made up of a contribution of €1 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and €288,000 from Teagasc in the form of three Walsh Scholarships.
  • The Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme promotes the scientific and technical capacity of the Irish agri-food sector as well as closer collaboration between Teagasc and third level institutions across the island of Ireland, Europe, the US and the southern hemisphere. The programme covers all aspects of agriculture, horticulture, food, agri-food economics, rural development and rural environment, as well as specific topics identified for priority funding each year.



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