Ireland’s bioeconomy – ranging from industry to agriculture – is set to be boosted with the launch of a €28m bieconomy research campus.
At an event this morning (19 October), Government members and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) announced the launch of the €5.75m National Bioeconomy Campus, including the €22m Beacon SFI research centre.
The event also marked the launch of the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (IBF), which SFI said aims to engage industry, the farming community, Government and wider society in the bioeconomy. This, it said, brings together processes and technologies to sustainably use our natural resources, create jobs and further rural development.
The Beacon SFI research centre includes partnerships with five research institutions and an initial 10 industry partners.
Many of the comments made at the launch in Lisheen, Co Tipperary, reference the country’s need to address climate change, adding that greater research and applications of a bioeconomy will help to do so.
‘The bioeconomy reduces emissions’
“Climate change is a serious global and local issue, requiring unified and sustained action to ensure low carbon growth and resource efficiency,” said the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD.
“The bioeconomy reduces emissions and our dependence on fossil resources as well as contributing to the EU target of restoring at least 15pc of degraded ecosystems by 2020. Ireland has remarkable potential as a location for a globally significant, circular bioeconomy and will play a leading role in tackling one of the greatest global challenges we face.”
Explaining his intentions as director of the Beacon SFI research centre, Prof Kevin O’Connor said: “Research excellence is critical to maximising the opportunity for Irish society and enabling Irish industry to diversify and enter new, growing global markets.
“Given that our natural resources are predominantly rurally based, Beacon can help to create vibrant, sustainable rural communities.”
The opening of the centre comes not long after the Government was heavily criticised for not doing its part in combating climate change following the publishing of Budget 2019. To the surprise of many, it announced it wasn’t going to introduce an increase in the carbon tax, despite initially saying it was a serious possibility.