The Co-Centre Programme is an exciting opportunity for researchers to build strategic collaborative partnerships across Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland through the formation of a Co-Centre. The programme will establish virtual Centres of distributed excellence linking researchers across academia and industry to perform cutting-edge research in areas of mutual economic, societal, health and environmental importance. Co-Centres will be structured according to the existing SFI model and will be funded by by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and co-funded by industry.
The overall ambition of the Co-Centre Programme is to create a dynamic research network across Ireland, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland. This will be led by a cross-jurisdictional collaboration of academic partners working together with industry and other key stakeholders to bring scale, standing and cohesion to the research and innovation ecosystem. The Co-Centre Programme encourages high quality research and innovation whilst also delivering economic, societal, health and environmental impacts.
The new programme will provide for an investment of €74million, funded through DAERA (up to £17M), SFI (up to €40million) and UKRI (up to £12 million), to support future joint research.
The call will focus on two thematic areas:
Climate change has presented an unprecedented need for innovative approaches to address the climate emergency and rapid degradation of the natural environment (air, water, soil and biodiversity). STEM-led, multidisciplinary research is needed to develop climate neutral and resilient economies through resource efficient and sufficient circular economies which are resilient and adapted to the expected effects of climate change and also provide green jobs for globally competitive and resilient industries.
Research and development building on existing capabilities in a systems-based holistic approach is needed in areas such as, but not limited to:
- The important role of agriculture, land use, land use change and forestry
- Transforming transport and mobility
- Sustainable communities, to encompass urban (including cities and regions), rural and coastal settings
- Carbon-neutral industries including carbon capture
- Greenhouse gas removals and establishing sustainable carbon cycles
- Improving water quality (surface and groundwater)
Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems
A sustainable food system delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.
Food systems need to become more sustainable with respect to environmental, economic and social aspects on a global platform. Research and innovation are needed to help deliver a food system that supports animal welfare, a healthy planet, including a climate neutral agricultural sector resilient to external shocks, which incorporates circularity, bioeconomy development and resource efficiency and delivers nutrition for sustainable and healthy diets.
The following pathway areas (in no particular order) are examples which could be considered in proposals:
- Food systems and data
- Safe, secure, healthy, sustainable and personalised nutrition
- Alternative proteins and healthy, sustainable dietary shifts
- Sustainable food production incorporating improved resource use efficiency
- Sustainable food processing
- Governance and systems changes
- Food waste and resource efficiency
Please refer to the call document for further guidance on themes.