CO. TIPPERARY, Ireland - The new €22.2 million BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre at the National Bioeconomy Campus in Lisheen, Co. Tipperary was formally opened on Friday. The event also saw the launch of the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation.
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed simultaneous announced the initiation of a Bioeconomy Public-Private Network of representatives from industry, society and relevant public bodies to inform the future development of the Irish bioeconomy. This network, said Creed, will be a key output of the cross-Departmental Bioeconomy Implementation Group, co-chaired by the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
“The bioeconomy will play a crucial role in supporting future economic development and employment, as well as providing a path towards reducing carbon emissions and our dependence on fossil resources,” Minister Creed said Friday. “Making better use of our bio-based resources presents real opportunities. It means that our famers, fishers and foresters will in the future not only be partners with food companies, but also potentially with chemical, textile and construction industries. The agri-food sector has strong innovation potential to support Ireland’s transition to a more integrated sustainable, circular, low carbon economy, with economic, social and environmental benefits for rural Ireland.”
Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland said: “The modern world is dependent upon finite fossil resources to produce everyday consumable items and the agri-food 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.”
Brian Kelly from the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation said: “The IBF provides an infrastructure to enable potential collaborators to interact in order to establish new value chains. Our Enterprise Ireland funded pilot-scale processing facility in Lisheen provides the national ecosystem with an opportunity to accelerate ideas (from academics and businesses) to the market, helping to de-risk new technologies, attract further investment and build international links.”