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Flying the flag for research: US-Ireland R&D Partnership reaches €70 million funding milestone

14 Jan 2019
  • €73.22 million funding secured for Ireland, Northern Ireland and United States of America research collaborations
  • 49 R&D projects approved in last 12 years
  • Latest phase focuses on agri-food challenges with €1million issued to 3 successful projects

A trilateral partnership for supporting research and development has awarded over €73 million in funding to collaborative projects involving researchers from the Republic of Ireland, according to the latest figures from InterTradeIreland.

Launched in 2006, the US-Ireland R&D Partnership is an alliance between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States of America that aims to increase the level of innovation and scientific progress amongst researchers and industry. 49 projects have been granted funding across key sectors including health, science and engineering, telecommunication energy and sustainability.

The US-Ireland Research and Development (R&D) Partnership is led by a steering group of senior representatives from each jurisdiction, with InterTradeIreland providing the secretariat for the group on the island of Ireland.

Speaking about the milestone, Grainne Lennon, International Funding and Collaborations Broker at InterTradeIreland said: “Cross border initiatives such as this are essential if we are to facilitate real knowledge sharing and progress, particularly to tackle megatrend issues that can impact businesses and society globally. A highly competitive competition, partnerships need to be embedded in creativity and collaboration, and must demonstrate real value to secure support. Thankfully, the stats speak for themselves, and we are thrilled that so many local researchers are excelling in their respected fields to secure funding. Leveraging ground-breaking thinking both at home and internationally, the research being undertaken is truly world-leading and we look forward to seeing the advancements made by the latest projects.

"The Partnership has made 49 research awards and approved over €70 million of funding to a wide range of projects since it was first launched 12 years ago. It is a tangible legacy of the peace process and despite the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit, cross-border and international research collaborations are still very much taking place."

The latest phase of the US-Ireland R&D Partnership aims to tackle global challenges facing the agri-food sector. The first project successful under the agricultural call was awarded in 2016 to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in partnership with Teagasc and the University of Missouri – ‘Application of next generation sequencing for the identification of DNA based biomarkers in regulatory regions of the genome for susceptibility to bovine respiratory disease complex’.

Last year, almost €1million was issued to 3 successful agri projects with Republic of Ireland researchers. One such project, NAGpro - a collaboration between University College Cork (UCC), Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Tennessee - aims to improve animal husbandry through developing safe alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters.

Commenting on the NAGpro programme, Dr Susan Joyce, College Lecturer at School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, University College Cork and affiliate of APC Microbiome Ireland and Food for Health Ireland said: “The US-Ireland R&D Partnership plays an integral role in promoting scientific advances and boosting collaboration amongst researchers and industry professionals - in addition to contributing to the development of a vibrant research environment on the island of Ireland and to economic development. Through open communication and discussion with Queen’s University Belfast and University of Tennessee, we brought our ideas together in an exciting way to address a current problem. It was really great for our teams to meet and generate excitement and scientific curiosity around the project. The agri-food industry continues to be a crucial part of the Irish economy and this funding provides great opportunities for the sector and researchers, to develop funded collaborations with partners in the US and NI.”

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