Major research centres sign deal to accelerate Ireland’s bioeconomy

28 Jul 2020

Image: © mrallen /

Two of Ireland’s largest bioeconomy research centres are members of a new partnership designed to accelerate relevant research.

As part of efforts for Ireland to achieve its emissions reduction targets for 2030, a new partnership is set to accelerate research into the country’s emerging bioeconomy.

The partnership includes the Science Foundation Ireland research centre BiOrbic and the Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (ABC) based at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), with support from the Institute of Technology Tralee. BiOrbic was launched in 2017 under the name Beacon and is now hosted by University College Dublin with partner institutions including Trinity College Dublin, the University of Limerick, NUI Galway and Teagasc.

Bioeconomy is the term used to refer to an economic model that involves using renewable biological resources such as forests, fish and microorganisms to sustainably produce food, energy and industrial goods. It can potentially tap into millions of tonnes of biological waste and residual materials to create a circular, sustainable bioeconomy.

Through a signed memorandum of understanding, BiOrbic and Shannon ABC have now committed to supporting each other in identifying collaborative research opportunities, commercialising these activities and engaging industry partners.

‘Important to future survival of our planet’

The overall aim of the partnership is to expand and accelerate the impact of this research and provide a more accessible research network for industry to tap into.

“Collaboration is a core value for BiOrbic, and we need to work together with partners like Shannon ABC, industry, producers, policy makers, local communities and others to build a vibrant sustainable circular bioeconomy,” said Prof Kevin O’Connor, BiOrbic’s director.

“Our partnership with Shannon ABC is a significant step in connecting national expertise together, particularly for the benefit of industry.”

Dr Liam Brown, vice-president for research, development and innovation at LIT, also welcomed the partnership.

“This will serve both our industrial partners and the environmental agenda, which has become so important to the future survival of our planet. It is collaborations like these that help to really make a difference,” he said.

Last October, BiOrbic announced it had signed an agreement with the Technological Higher Education Association to create partnerships and opportunities for collaboration across the sector.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic