Over €20 million awarded to agri-food and forest research

Projects looking at developing low calorie confectionary and reducing tail biting in pigs

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney: more than €20 million has been awarded to almost 40 agri-food and forestry research projects.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney: more than €20 million has been awarded to almost 40 agri-food and forestry research projects. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Grants of more than €20 million have been awarded to almost 40 agri-food and forestry research projects, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

Projects include a virtual crop improvement centre, a project exploring the use of arsenic in marine macro-algae, and the development of low calorie confectionary.

The project to create a virtual Irish centre for crop improvement, led by Dan Milbourne of Teagasc’s crop research department will receive €2.99 million and will also involve UCD, NUIG, NUIM, and TCD.

A project co-ordinated by Teagasc’s Dr Keelin O’Driscoll will look at strategies to reduce tail biting in pig farms. Making the environment more interesting to reduce boredom, and the use of nutritional strategies will be examined by Dr O’Driscoll.

Institutions

Teagasc is leading 18 of the 37 projects and collaborating in a further eight. In total, funding to Teagasc under these awards totals €7.6 million. Other institutions receiving funding include UCC, DIT, CIT and DCU.

Prof Elke Arendt of UCC will lead a project looking at new approaches to the development of food and beverage products low in sugar but high in taste.

Dr Brendan Egan of UCD will look at nutritional solutions to combat chronic malnutrition in older people.

Mr Coveney said the programmes would provide contract employment for 58 scientists as well as specialised scientific training for 53 post-graduate students.