The Agro-Systems Innovation and Growth Lighthouse will help promote sustainable growth for the agri-food, horticultural, forestry and marine sector in the south east
Staff from the Department of Land Sciences at South East Technological University (SETU) Waterford have successfully secured feasibility grant study funding from Enterprise Ireland under the new Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme (REISS) 2022.
Ministers of State Robert Troy TD and Damien English TD announced details yesterday of the 47 projects that have been approved for a total of €3.5 million in grant support under the REISS 2022. Some 15 Projects have been approved for REISS Priming Grants of up to €200,000, while SETU is one of 32 projects to have been approved for REISS Feasibility Study grants of up to €50,000.
Regional Enterprise Plans
The REISS funding supports the development of potential innovative regional projects aligned with the objectives of the nine new Regional Enterprise Plans that were launched earlier this year.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Robert Troy said: “The nine Regional Enterprise Plans have the capacity to drive job growth and business expansion throughout Ireland. These ambitious plans draw on the established strengths of each region and are focused on ensuring the enterprise ecosystem is equipped to grasp the opportunities of the future…We need to encourage new innovation and new thinking about how we tackle the significant challenges that business faces…”
Agro-Systems Innovation and Growth Lighthouse
Dr Ultan McCarthy and Dr Anastasia Ktenioudaki, lecturers from the Department of Land Sciences, School of Science and Computing, SETU Waterford, will use the grant to engage with local, national and international Land Management stakeholders, supporting SETU in its ambition to progress knowledge, skills, solution, and service gaps which need to be addressed to ensure a sustainable future.
Their aim is to establish the Agro-Systems Innovation and Growth Lighthouse based at the SETU Waterford campus which, according to Eleanor Kent, Head of Department of Land Sciences, “will be an instrument for managing collaborations, knowledge flow, developing solution concepts and promoting sustainable growth for the agri-food, horticultural, forestry and marine sector in the South East and beyond. The Department of Land Sciences at SETU plays a leading role in Land Science education nationally and looks forward to future growth and collaboration.”
Future proofing our knowledge base
The next five to ten years will be critical for humanity facing challenges such as climate change, food security, and an ever-growing population. Radical change is required to address these issues and SETU has a key role to play in future proofing our knowledge base and providing both our undergraduate, postgraduate and research community with the future skills required to promote change.
Speaking of their joy at securing this funding, Dr McCarthy extended a special thanks to both Enterprise Ireland and to the Land Sciences Industry Board: “Our Industry board was established in 2017 to enhance and structure engagement with industrial partners, standards agencies, and governmental body representatives across the south east. The board has been pivotal in supporting our application and this funding from Enterprise Ireland will be instrumental in continuing and expanding these engagement mechanisms.”
Engaging with stakeholders to identify challenges
Initial stages of the project will see academic staff within the department reengage with existing and new stakeholders in the south east and further afield, identifying specific challenges faced by industry, and through a national and international network assist the early-stage development of initiatives that can help strengthen the regional ability to adjust and cope with the potential effects of international economic changes.