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Minister Heydon announces grant awards of over €1 million under two transnational European Research Area Networks

The Minister of State at the Department of  Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon T.D., today announced awards by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of over €1 million for Irish researchers, collaborating in five international research projects. These awards arise under European Research Area Networks (ERANETs) co-funded competitive research Calls and relate to information and communications technology (ICT) and data innovations in the agri-food system, and the improvement of animal health via novel vaccine technology platforms and diagnostics.

Announcing the awards today the Minister said, “I am delighted to announce the five new funding awards for Irish-based researchers to allow them partner and collaborate with their European counterparts. This will further strengthen existing scientific linkages and develop international capacity and capability in the Irish research sector and keep us to the fore in delivering innovation in the Agri-food sector.”

Four projects are funded under the ICT-AGRI-FOOD ERANET (ICT-enabled Agri-Food Systems) research Call that supports the development of new data-driven ICT solutions and platforms, and ways to address barriers for technology adoption by end-users with the aim to reduce the environmental footprint, increase resilience and improve food security in agri-food systems. Two of the projects, HALY.ID and TailBiteAdvice, aim to develop innovative ICT-based advisory tools for farmers to monitor and target, respectively, the sustainable management of agricultural crop pests and the minimisation of tail biting in pigs. The SPECTROFOOD project looks to apply spectral techniques for quality characterisation of fruit and vegetable crops for use in the supply chain and to reduce food waste; while the project, MUSHNOMICS, aims to unlock data-driven analytics and innovation to optimize yields, lower costs and improve the economic viability in the mushroom value chain.

The remaining project is funded under the ICRAD ERANET (the International Co-ordination of Research on Infectious Animal Diseases) research Call that supports the development and integration of new tools and systems for improved prevention and preparedness to combat infectious animal disease outbreaks. The funded project, BM-FARM, looks to develop new techniques to reduce and prevent antimicrobial resistance on pig farms.

The funding has been awarded to three different Irish research institutions, including University College Dublin, the Tyndall National Institute and Teagasc, for the research contribution and collaboration with research institutions and organisations from 10 different European countries. 

Minister Heydon concluded, “Today’s announcement will further deepen Ireland’s involvement in selective, strategically important, international, agri-food research initiatives and the successful projects funded under these Horizon 2020 ERANET Calls will be key enablers of innovation in the agri-food sector and will contribute to the key strategic themes of Food Wise 2025 - competitiveness, innovation and sustainability.”

Details of these projects are set out on the websites of the two ERANETs - ICT-AGRI-FOOD and ICRAD.

Notes for Editor:

  • ERANETs are research initiatives that contribute to the building of the European Research Area and, under Horizon 2020, they are designed to support transnational public-public partnerships in their preparation, design, implementation, coordination and networking of joint research activities. They also sometimes include the top-up EU funding of research calls for transnational research and innovation in selected areas with high European added-value. DAFM resource and financial supports for ERANETs are undertaken in conjunction with other EU Member States, the EU Commission and sometimes can include third-party countries such as New Zealand and Canada. Successful projects that arise following a rigorous peer review evaluation process,  comprise research partners from at least three member states with each partner funded by their national funding organisation.
  • ICT-AGRI-FOOD is an ERANET that is focussed on food supply chains at every level from farm to fork, and through to the application of relevant technologies (Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, algorithms, models, remote and localised sensors etc). It aims to improve the productivity, sustainability, safety, efficiency and security of food production systems. This network is made up of 23 partners from ministries, agencies and research institutes from 16 countries

o The ICT-AGRI-FOOD research Call in 2019 was conducted to support the development of new data driven ICT platforms and solutions and assist in addressing barriers to technology adoption  in order to derive value from the data collected and enable farmer uptake and use and provide new business models that will assist with the affordability and adoption of such solutions, reduce the environmental footprint of agri-food systems, increase system resilience, improve food security and empower consumers.

  • ICRAD is an ERANET that seeks a concerted approach towards the development of novel and improved instruments to address and control infectious diseases, particularly regarding novel detection, intervention and prevention strategies to increase preparedness and ability to respond to emerging and endemic livestock threats. This network is made up of 23 Consortium Members from across 19 countries and 3 European regions

o  The ICRAD research Call 2020 was conducted to support the development and integration of new generic tools and systems for better prevention and improved preparedness to react to infectious animal disease outbreaks. It, therefore, focused on designing and developing new or improved vaccines, diagnostic and surveillance tools and vaccination/immuno-stimulation. Part of the call also promoted transparency and traceability for all stakeholders, from farmers to consumers as well as policy and decision makers.   

  • Total funding of the successful projects under the 2 ERANETs is €1,149,288.17 (made up of the DAFM contribution of €754,865.00, EU top-up contributions of €306,423.17 and a Teagasc contribution of €88,000 in the form of a Walsh Scholarship to the HALY.ID project). The projects awarded funding include:


  • HALY.ID – Innovative ICT tools for targeted monitoring and sustainable management of the brown marmorated stink bug and other pests; Tyndall National Institute (Dr Dimitrios Zormpas); Awarded - €258,955.38; Collaborating partner countries: Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania.
  • SPECTROFOOD – Agri-food quality estimation using spectral techniques; University College Dublin (Dr Dimitrios Argyropoulos); Awarded - €174,695.30; Collaborating partner countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece.
  • MUSHNOMICS - Unlocking data-driven innovation for improving productivity and data sharing in mushroom value chain; University College Dublin (Dr Dimitrios Argyropoulos); Awarded - €137,281.30; Collaborating partner countries: Romania, Denmark, Hungary.
  • TailBiteAdvice - An ICT-based real-time advisory tool to minimise tail biting in fattening pigs; Teagasc Moorepark (Dr Keelin O'Driscoll); Awarded - €174,491.19; Collaborating partner countries: Belgium, Denmark.


  • BM-FARM - Biomarkers and Microbiome in Farms for Antimicrobial Resistance Management; Teagasc Moorepark (Dr. Edgar Garcia Manzanilla) and University College Dublin (Dr. Finola Leonard); Awarded - €404,865.00; Collaborating partner countries: France, Spain.