Technological watch

Minister McConalogue and Minister Muir launch €9 million funding call under the Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative

• The Call for Proposals is supported by an allocation from the Government’s Shared Island Fund, which will support the development of two bioeconomy initiatives on the agri-bioeconomy and the blue bioeconomy

• The scheme will support the integration of bioeconomy innovation and solutions in the agriculture and marine sectors across both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland

The Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D and the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir MLA., today announced the opening of a new funding initiative to support the development of the all-island bioeconomy. The ‘Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative’ will pilot and demonstrate the bioeconomy in action across the island of Ireland, as a key objective of the Bioeconomy Action Plan 2023-2025. 

The bioeconomy encompasses sectors that conserve, use, process, distribute or consume biological resources from land and sea including agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food processing, construction, packaging, chemicals and organic waste sectors and land and marine ecosystems. 

The Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative will advance sustainable opportunities on an all-island basis from biomass produced from both land and marine areas through the development of innovative, higher added value biobased products and solutions, with clear climate and environmental benefits. 

The new funding call is enabled by an allocation of €7 million from the Irish Government’s Shared Island Initiative, with co-funding of €1.5 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, and £0.5 million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. As cross border collaboration is a key requirement for applicants under this funding opportunity, InterTrade Ireland are supporting both Departments to aid applicants with their partner search through offering an online partnering platform and supporting the hosting of in-person networking events. 

In opening the Call for Proposals, Minister McConalogue stated: “The bioeconomy has significant potential to improve the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of the agri-food and marine sector by offering diversification opportunities, new bio-based business products and value chains, while reducing the use of fossil-based inputs. This new Shared Island initiative provides significant funding for primary producers, businesses, and innovators to work together to demonstrate new scalable, commercial bioeconomy solutions for the agri-food and marine sectors across the island of Ireland.”

DAERA Minister Andrew Muir, said: “I am pleased to welcome the opening of this call, which provides a great opportunity for innovators to cooperate with the aim of providing concrete and demonstrated examples of biobased innovation to help drive economic, environmental, and social benefits as well as support climate change mitigation and adaption. This initiative will provide an excellent opportunity to foster innovative collaborations which will be crucial in delivering climate action and supporting a greener economy through biobased solutions.”

Notes to Editors1. Terms and conditions 

a. Full terms and conditions including the Call Specifications and Call Guidelines are available here: Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative

b. Applications must be submitted online through the Application Submission Portal with a closing date of 7th June 12pm (noon). There is no facility for late applications. 

c. Supported by InterTrade Ireland, a partnering platform has been set up which may help applicants to find a partner in the opposite jurisdiction (Ireland or Northern Ireland). To access the Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative partnering platform, please click here .

d. Supported by InterTrade Ireland, call information sessions will be run by DAFM and DAERA and details on these events are provided as follows:

a. 22nd March Dundalk Institute of Technology

b. 19th April AFBI Hillsborough

2. Shared Island Initiative: 

a. This project has been enabled by an allocation of €7m from the Government’s Shared Island Fund announced in June 2023. Further information on the Shared Island Initiative is available here

3. The Bioeconomy

a. The bioeconomy is the production, utilisation, conservation, and regeneration of biological resources, to provide sustainable solutions (information, products, processes, and services) within and across all economic sectors and enable a transformation to a sustainable economy.

b. The Bioeconomy Demonstration initiatives will advance sustainable opportunities from biomass from both our land and seas through the development of innovative, higher added value biobased products, with clear climate and environmental benefits. These biobased products and services may offer new innovative sources of protein, starch, fibres, nutrients and bioactives that offer sustainable diversification opportunities for primary producers. The initiatives may also offer opportunities to upcycle food processing waste and to develop high value biobased products to support a circular food system.

4. Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative Scheme as part of the implementation of the Bioeconomy Action Plan 2023-2025. 

a. This initiative fulfils key actions set out in the Bioeconomy Action Plan 2023-2025 to: Develop North/South collaboration on the bioeconomy (action 1.6) and Develop bioeconomy demonstration initiatives (action 4.1) 

b. The initiative is funded from an allocation of €7 million to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine from the Shared Island Fund, with co-funding of €1.5 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, and a contribution from the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. 

c. The initiative recognises that both jurisdictions on the island are facing similar climate and sustainability challenges, have similar agri-food, land use and marine activities, and stakeholders in these sectors have developed substantive cross-border collaborations. The initiative will support agri-bioeconomy innovation in Northern Ireland and blue bioeconomy innovation in Ireland with very significant cooperation and collaboration required and innovation and knowledge sharing expected in funded projects reflecting the ambitions of the Shared Island Initiative. 

5. DAERA Innovation Strategy 2021 – 2025

a. The DAERA Innovation Strategy, published in April 2021, guides how DAERA can encourage and support innovation within the Department and in the sectors within its remit. The strategy outlines a mission for innovation; defines high level principles specific to innovation to be adopted; describes the desired end-state goals to be achieved in terms of providing leadership for innovation adoption, encouraging, supporting and facilitating innovation across DAERA’s remit, prioritising support and having effective governance. The strategy applies to DAERA and all areas within DAERA’s remit including agri-food, fisheries, environment, forestry and rural development.

b. The strategy covers cross-sector issues including sustainability, Green Growth and climate change and has a particular emphasis on three overarching technological themes which have been identified as being at the forefront of innovation change with the sectors under DAERA’s remit. These themes are Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Transformative Bioeconomy.

c. The Shared Island Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiative aligns with the DAERA Innovation strategy key priority theme of Transformative Bioeconomy.

Publication date: 21/03/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.