Sustainability / Environment

Ireland Announces €9M Funding Initiative to Develop an All-Island Bioeconomy

Ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have announced a €9 million funding initiative supporting bioeconomy innovation and solutions.

Called the Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative, the funding will be available to applicants across the island of Ireland. The bioeconomy is defined as “sectors that conserve, use, process, distribute or consume biological resources from land and sea including agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food processing, construction, packaging, chemicals and organic waste sectors and land and marine ecosystems”.

The initiative aims to support projects that use biomass produced in land and marine areas to develop higher added value biobased products and solutions with demonstrable sustainability benefits. This will help to meet a key objective of Ireland’s Bioeconomy Action Plan 2023-2025, which involves launching pilot demonstration facilities to take innovations developed through research into real-world settings.

“This new Shared Island initiative provides significant funding for primary producers, businesses, and innovators to work together to demonstrate new scalable, commercial bioeconomy solutions for the agri-food and marine sectors across the island of Ireland,” said Charlie McConalogue, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.

Palmaria palmata
© Anastasiia –

Seaweed as a solution?

As an island region, one area that may hold promise for the Irish bioeconomy is seaweed. Irish company Sea&Believe recently launched its inaugural seaweed farm in Connemara, Ireland, and is using the crop to develop ingredients for food and skincare products. Simultaneously, the seaweed farm is helping to revitalise the marine ecosystem.

Elsewhere in the world, seaweed has been used to produce meat alternatives, packaging, sanitary products, and more — all areas that could have potential for Ireland.

“I am pleased to welcome the opening of this call, which provides a great opportunity for innovators to cooperate with the aim of providing concrete and demonstrated examples of biobased innovation to help drive economic, environmental, and social benefits as well as support climate change mitigation and adaption,” said Minister Andrew Muir from Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs.

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