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FOOD-I Launch Event

Watch the full webinar here

FOOD-I brings together leading agri-food research institutions on the island of Ireland including the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Queen's University Belfast, Ulster University, University College Dublin, Teagasc, University College Cork, and NUI Galway. The launch event includes an opening address by Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, and a keynote speech from Mr Tom Arnold, Chair of Food Vision 2030. Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs closed the event.



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All-Island Initiative to ensure food security and sustainability launched

March 22, 2022

Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food
and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, and Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and
Rural Affairs of Northern Ireland, Edwin Poots, today formally launched the All-Island Food
Integrity Initiative (FOOD-I). The new network consolidates food systems expertise on the
island of Ireland, bringing together key academic, industry and government stakeholders to
realise a transformation in the sustainability, security and integrity of the food system.
The ‘All-Island Agri-Food Research Ecosystem Mapping Report was also launched at the
event. The report is the first of its kind ever to be completed for the island of Ireland and
maps the agri-food research ecosystem across the entire island for publicly funded research
awarded between 2015 and 2020.
The world’s food systems are facing unprecedented challenges, with climate factors,
increasing population size and geopolitical conflict threatening food security for all. This is
compounded by the need to reach net zero greenhouse gas and carbon emissions by 2050.
Speaking at the launch, Minister McConalogue said: “I welcome the FOOD-I initiative, which
provides the unique opportunity to bring stakeholders from all over the island of Ireland
together to support innovation and research capability and capacity, in order to implement
change in the sustainability, security and integrity of our food systems.
He said: “Both FOOD-I and (Irish Government strategy) Food Vision 2030 recognise the
benefits and need for a collaborative food systems approach, encompassing economic,
environmental and social sustainability. The FOOD-I initiative aims to consolidate food
systems expertise and this, along with the initiative’s key aims and objectives, will greatly
benefit the island of Ireland, as well as helping to inform the transformation of global food
Minister Poots added that: “At today's event we have heard from eminent speakers who
have been outlining the challenges and opportunities ahead as we strive to transform how
food is produced and consumed and to enhance our global competitiveness and the
reputation of our agri-food sectors. I fully recognise that science and innovation are key
enablers of long-term economic productivity and growth and are also vital in underpinning
environmental sustainability. I am confident that the science delivered by FOOD-I will rise to
meet these challenges and create new opportunities for the agri-food sector – placing
sustainability at the heart of a living, working landscape valued by everyone.
FOOD-I is coordinated under a partnership between UCD, Queen’s University Belfast, UCC,
Teagasc, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), NUI Galway and Ulster University. The
network will provide evidence-based solutions for industry and government, develop
disruptive new technologies and drive behaviour change among all actors along the food
chain in the shared island food system.
Co-Chair of FOOD-I, Professor of Plant Health in UCD School of Biology and Environmental
Science and member of the G20 Global Wheat Initiative Scientific Board, Professor Fiona
Doohan said: “We face unprecedented challenges to ensure the integrity and security of our

food supply, on this island and globally. By working together, harnessing the world-class
research skills and resources across the whole island, we can lead the world in providing
innovative solutions to ensure the sustainability of agri-food systems.”
Co-Chair of FOOD-I, Professor Aedin Cassidy of the Institute for Global Food Security at
Queen’s said: “One of the biggest challenges facing humanity this century is to provide the
growing world population with healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The climate
crisis, Brexit, geopolitics - such as what's happening in Ukraine - and the Covid-19 pandemic
have all put pressure on an already creaking system. Transformation is urgently required
and can only be achieved by an inter-disciplinary approach. Our broad and distinctive skill
sets in food-systems research across Ireland place us in a unique position to address these
challenges and develop evidence-based solutions that will showcase our world-leading
research and have consequences for food systems internationally.”
The ‘All-Island Agri-Food Research Ecosystem Mapping Report; highlighted that agri-food is
the largest indigenous industry on the island of Ireland but, year-on-year, public investment
in agri-food research has declined annually since 2015, falling by 44 per cent in 2019 across
the island.
The report recommended continuous public investment in agri-food research in all-island
partnerships across the ‘whole food system,’ to ensure the sustainability of the region.
Delivering the keynote speech at the launch, Ireland’s (UN Summit) Special Envoy for Food
Systems and Chair of the EU Commission’s High Level Expert Group (to assess the need
for an International Platform for Food Systems Science), Mr Tom Arnold said: “There is huge
scope for enhanced all-island agri-food cooperation. Working more closely on an all-island
basis provides significant opportunities to jointly contribute expertise to co-develop solutions
to shared global challenges in food security impacting on the jobs of the future on the island.
The FOOD-I initiative will help to position the island as an international leader in sustainable
food systems and in food and nutrition security.”


All-Island Agri-Food Mapping Exercise Report Published

March 22, 2022

The ‘All-Island of Ireland Agri-Food Research Ecosystem Mapping Exercise Report', completed by UCD, was published at the FOOD-I launch event on 22nd March. The report is the first of its kind ever to be completed for the island of Ireland and maps the agri-food research ecosystem across the entire island for publicly funded research awarded between 2015 and 2020. The report found that €681M of public funds was invested in agri-food research on the island between 2015 and 2020. Year-on-year public investment in agri-food research projects has declined annually since 2015, falling by 44% in 2019.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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Launch Event - Registration Open

March 1, 2022

We are delighted to formally launch FOOD-I on March 22nd with Minister Charlie McConalogue TD giving the opening address. Mr Tom Arnold who is the former Chair of Food Vision 2030 will give the keynote address. Minister Edwin Poots MLA will close the event.  

Register here on eventbrite

The launch event programme is now available to download here


UCD to lead €3.1M project to diversify plant-protein production across island of Ireland

December 7, 2021

In December, the Minister for Agriculture, food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue announced funding for a new initiative that will take a food-systems approach to enhancing the sustainability of protein production across the island of Ireland. Led by the UCD Institute of Food and Health’s Prof Lorraine Brennan and Prof Fiona Doohan, the Protein-I project will focus on plant production through to human health, while paying particular attention to the development of Ireland’s rural bio-economy.

More information here.


A Gaeltacht-based social enterprise working to promote Northwest Donegal as a region known for sustainability, biodiversity, and low-carbon food production.

November 24, 2021

The overall objective of the Cill Ulta: Northwest Bioeconomy Hub is to develop an integrated regional bioeconomy hub in the Northwest, by focusing on biological and technological innovations within the regional bioeconomy to drive sustainable economic, cultural, social and ecological innovation, job creation, learning and research opportunities and entrepreneurial talent.

Read more about it here.