National Bioeconomy Campus receives €28m investment
30 October 2018
The €22.2 million BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre has been unveiled by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed at the €5.75 million National Bioeconomy Campus in Lisheen, Co Tipperary.
The event also saw the launch of the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (IBF), as part of the inaugural Bioeconomy Ireland Day, which aims to engage industry, the farming community, Government and wider society in the bioeconomy.
New ideas, processes and technologies to sustainably use our natural resources
The bioeconomy brings together the development of new ideas, processes and technologies to sustainably use our natural resources, create jobs and stimulate rural development.
Minister Creed also announced the initiation of a Bioeconomy Public-Private Network, as part of the national bioeconomy policy statement implementation, to establish a network of representatives from industry, research, society and relevant public bodies to inform the future development of the Irish bioeconomy.
With the bioeconomy already accounting for eight per cent of the EU’s workforce, bio-based industries could create up to one million green jobs by 2030, especially in rural and coastal areas.
Partnerships with five research institutions
The BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and Industry, includes partnerships with five research institutions and an initial 10 industry partners.
The centre will connect Ireland’s key bioeconomy sectors with fundamental and applied research excellence and innovation infrastructure, using a multi-disciplinary perspective to solve the key challenges for a robust bioeconomy: technology and sustainability.
Speaking about the inaugural Bioeconomy Ireland Day, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD said: “In March of this year, government published the National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy, setting out our ambition for Ireland to be a global leader in this sector.
“We want to integrate sustainable economic development into our economic model as we transition to a low carbon economy.
“A number of Irish based companies have already recognised the potential of the bioeconomy and are developing commercial opportunities in this area.
“The government is committed to building on this and alongside the National Policy Statement, the last year has seen major investments in the sector including in the BEACON SFI Research Centre and the Lisheen campus. I look forward to the first progress report from the Bioeconomy Implementation Group early next year.”
Challenges and opportunities for the bioeconomy
Biorefining technologies based on renewable biological resources are essential for a carbon-neutral future. The BEACON SFI Research Centre, along with the IBF and ongoing government bioeconomy actions, will address significant challenges and opportunities for major sectors of the Irish and global bioeconomy, including dairy, horticulture, forestry, fisheries, marine biodiscovery, food waste and municipal solid biowaste.
Prof Mark Ferguson, SFI director general and chief scientific adviser to the government, said: “The modern world is dependent upon finite fossil resources to produce everyday consumable items and the agrifood and marine sectors produce high volumes of residues and waste during food production.
“Research from the BEACON SFI Research Centre will convert these residues to higher value products such as food, feed, chemicals, construction materials, energy and fuels, addressing multiple scientific, technological and social challenges.
“Government investment through the SFI research centres continues to deliver significant economic and societal impact to Ireland with transformative innovation.”
Prof Kevin O’Connor, director of the BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre, said: “BEACON, through research and innovation, is creating knowledge and high-value products from Ireland’s natural resources.
“This will inform the evolution of the Irish bioeconomy and create new opportunities for Irish industry. 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. BEACON will provide the knowledge, technologies, and highly educated graduates to support the realisation of Ireland’s bioeconomy opportunity.”http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2018/10/30/national-bioeconomy-campus-receives-e28m-investment/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/beacon.pnghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/beacon-300x300.pngNewsbiotechnology,investment,SFI