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Ministers McConalogue, Heydon and Hackett announce bioeconomy funding

Ministers McConalogue, Heydon and Hackett announces new €10 million bioeconomy funding initiative


  • €10 million for a 2023 Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative under the EU Just Transition Fund
  • This will support the development of two bioeconomy piloting and demonstration projects in the 'Designated Territories' of the midlands, which includes the counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon, and the Municipal Districts of Ballinasloe (Co. Galway), Athy and Clane-Maynooth (Co. Kildare), and Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles (Co. Tipperary)

Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., along with his colleagues Ministers of State Martin Heydon T.D. and Senator Pippa Hackett today announced the opening of a new innovation support measure for the bioeconomy.


The ‘Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative’ is part of the EU Just Transition Fund for Ireland and is designed to pilot and demonstrate the bioeconomy in action within the Just Transition Fund Territory. The scheme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the EU Just Transition Fund.


It will offer the opportunity to support close collaboration between stakeholders along the entire bio-based value chain, including SMEs, research performing organisations, universities, local authorities, clusters, primary producers, bioprocessing industries, and consumer brands.


It will support bioeconomy innovation at the Just Transition Fund territorial level and will seek the active involvement of local actors (e.g., NGOs, local and regional authorities, community, and local action groups) alongside the bio-based industries. 


In making the announcement, Minister McConalogue stated “the bioeconomy has significant potential to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the agri-food sector. For example, it is now possible to replace products produced from fossil-resources with those produced by bio-resources from land and sea, including new biofertilisers and biopesticides, high protein food and feed, bio-based plastics and textiles, and much more besides.  Utilising biomass, including biowastes, from agriculture, food production and processing in this circular way means we can extract more value from our agri-food system while simultaneously improving overall environmental and climate sustainability”.


Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation Martin Heydon T.D. remarked “the Just Transition funding for bioeconomy demonstration initiatives in the midlands will build on the research and innovation capacity that has been developed through previous funding of more than €25 million by my Department. With these building blocks now in place, it is critical that we move those bioeconomy innovations from the research lab to scaled up demonstration level. This will help the agri-food system to become more circular, sustainable, and resilient”.


For her part, Minister of State with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett commented: "We have secured a total of €20 million for bioeconomy demonstration initiatives in the Midlands under the Just Transition Fund. I am hugely excited by the potential for Midlands farmers, community groups, research organisations, local authorities, SMEs and other enterprises to come together to realise the potential of the bioeconomy for this region and beyond.  The 2023 call has a budget of €10 million for two separate projects, each of which will be eligible to receive funding of up to €5 million.  Through this year’s call we are seeking proposals to develop biobased products, services and jobs that will help us move to a more sustainable, climate-neutral economy here in the Midlands.  I’m looking forward first of all to seeing the successful proposals getting up and running in the Midlands, and ultimately then seeing their pilot projects replicated across Ireland and further afield in years to come.”


Applications must be submitted online through Application Submission Portal - Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine ( with a closing date of 13th October 2023.




  1. Full terms and conditions of the scheme are available at the following - Research - Open Calls (
  1. Applications must be submitted online through Application Submission Portal - Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine ( with a closing date of 13 October 2023. There is no facility for late applications because scheme actions must be completed before 1 November 2023 to allow for initial payments to participants to issue in mid-December 2023.
  2. Call Specification and guidelines can be found here: - Research - Open Calls (
  3. A call information session will be run by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on August 28th at 11am.  Register here for the event.


  1. EU Just Transition Fund, Ireland: - 'Programme for the EU Just Transition Fund' investment of €169 million in Midlands region officially launched (
  1. The €169 million fund will support communities most negatively affected by the move away from fossil fuels and the cessation of commercial peat extraction.
  2. Ireland is set to receive up to €84.5 million from the EU Just Transition Fund over the period to 2027. With the Government of Ireland’s match funding using Exchequer resources, up to €169 million will be available.
  3. These 'Designated Territories' include the counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon, and the Municipal Districts of Ballinasloe (Co. Galway), Athy and Clane-Maynooth (Co. Kildare), and Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles (Co. Tipperary).
  4. The fund, which will be in place until 2027, will ensure that no-one is left behind by the climate transition and will promote economic, social, and territorial cohesion in line with key EU priorities. It will support training and upskilling for former peat workers. For their communities, this funding will enable them to benefit from new green jobs, the development of affordable green energy, the decarbonisation of local transport, and the roll-out of new tourism enterprises. It will also support investment in sustainable agriculture and forestry, the development of SMEs and start-ups, as well as support for vital research and innovation.
  5. The Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative scheme will support the development of 'Bioeconomy Districts' and 'Living Labs' to support circular bioeconomy value chain development within the Region


  1. The Bioeconomy
  1. The bioeconomy is the production, utilization, conservation, and regeneration of biological resources, including related knowledge, science, technology, and innovation, to provide sustainable solutions (information, products, processes, and services) within and across all economic sectors and enable a transformation to a sustainable economy.
  2. Food systems occupy the biggest niche of the bioeconomy. In the European Union, for instance, food systems, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture, as well as food and feed manufacturing, account for 71% of all value added in a bioeconomy, followed by around 28% for biobased products, and the remainder for bioenergy.
  3. The bioeconomy has major untapped potential to support both climate change mitigation and adaptation and a circular economy since in current biobased industrial systems the full value of biomass is not unlocked to its fullest potential and there is very significant potential to sustainably cascade the use of biomass and valorise biological waste.
  4. The transition to a sustainable and circular bioeconomy involves challenges and risks as well as benefits and opportunities.  These challenges can include the: addressing of scientific and financial risk and developing technical capacity; scaling-up practices, technologies, and engineering; and developing the basis for cooperative approaches.
  5. These challenges and risks, that have been identified through formal stakeholder engagement, mean that bioeconomy development needs support and facilitation that creates space for innovation in specific territorial contexts, enables piloting and cooperation and allows the addressing of barriers through cooperative activities. The Scheme aims to address these.


  1. Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative Scheme for the Just Transition Fund Territory in Ireland as part of the implementation of the Climate Action Plan 2023.
  1. The scheme is funded from an allocation of €20 million to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine from the EU Just Transition Fund.  There will be two calls for proposals, one in 2023 and one in 2024.
  2. The Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative Scheme relates to Action JM/23/4 ‘Develop opportunities to unlock the full potential of the bioeconomy in Midlands Region’ in the Climate Action Plan 2023 (CAP23), launched in December 2022.




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