Two new research “co-centres” on climate change and sustainable food production are to be established on an all-island basis at a cost €70 million.
One research centre will look at climate, biodiversity and water, while the other will be dedicated to researching sustainable and resilient food systems.
The centres, which will come into operation in January, will bring together academics, industry and policymakers across the Irish Government, the UK government and Northern Ireland government departments that are jointly funding the initiative.
Trinity College Dublin will headquarter the Climate+ Co-Centre at a cost of €41.3 million – “which will be the home of research, innovation, and policy development across the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and water degradation on the islands of Ireland and Britain”.
It will be linked to a number of research institutions including Dublin City University.
The programme is funded over six years with up to €40 million from Science Foundation Ireland (supported by the Department of Further, Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science and the Irish Government’s Shared Island Fund); up to £17 million (€19 million) from Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; and up to £12 million through UK Research and Innovation with co-funding by industry.
The announcement of the new centres was made by Simon Harris – Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science – and Michelle Donelan – secretary of state for science, innovation and technology – at bilateral discussions at Farmleigh House, Dublin, on Tuesday.
Mr Harris said: “Addressing climate change and achieving sustainable and resilient food systems are intertwined challenges facing us all. This investment in two new collaborative research centres is a major development in addressing these pressing issues in a co-ordinated and concerted way.
“I’m delighted to see the very best minds and methods being brought together to create a dynamic research network across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.”
Ms Donelan said the centres would build on the UK’s and Ireland’s shared deep ties, “and in today’s fast-moving world, we share many of the same challenges, too. From our groundbreaking international work on AI, to our deal to join Horizon, the UK is determined to seize the opportunities for growth and prosperity that can be delivered, when we work together on science and tech with our neighbours.
“By bringing together the genius that exists across our islands, we will unlock the new ideas and inventions that will help us secure our food chains and tackle climate change, delivering innovative solutions for global good,” she added.