28th February 2018: University College Dublin (UCD) held an Agri-Food seminar in the European Parliament, Brussels

The seminar was held as part of the University’s ongoing dialogue with European policy-makers and stakeholders to frame agri-food research priorities for FP9. FP9, the ninth framework programme, is the next European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. 

Hosted by Brian Hayes MEP, the seminar was entitled Agri-food, Food Security and Nutrition – Framing the Priorities for FP9.  

The opportunities for Irish food products and for new knowledge that drives and sustains global food markets are considerable.  By 2050 the world must feed a population expected to reach 9.6 billion, which coupled with the doubling of the global middle class by 2030, represents a potential global socio-economic disaster. Growth in food production is not matching growth in global population. 

The crucial question is how to satisfy these demands without having any new land to use and without unsustainable ecological consequences. Solving these issues is at the heart of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.

Resolving these interdependent challenges requires European stakeholders to align policy, research and industry objectives, and doing so will enable the European Union to maintain international competitiveness while playing a leadership role in this important area globally.  

It is anticipated that FP9 will have a strong focus on the implementation of the SDGs including those related to food security, nutrition and smart sustainable agriculture. The European Commission is due to bring forward its proposal later this year which will form the basis for an agreement by the European Parliament and the European Council.  

Speaking at the seminar UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Orla Feely said, “The agri-food and agri-business sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, employing over 170,000 people with an annual turnover of €26 billion and UCD is the national leader in research activities in the agri-food and bioeconomy sector.”

“At UCD world-class scientists lead a portfolio of initiatives, in partnership with industry, to deliver safe and sustainable foods that promote human health and well-being. We look forward, through the remainder of Horizon 2020 programme and during FP9, to leading partnerships within the agri-food sector across the EU and beyond which will address the SDGs.”

Brian Hayes MEP said, “The next European Research and Innovation Programme, FP9, will be pivotal to Europe’s future global competitiveness.  The goal of FP9 must be to position the EU as the global leader in scientific research, utilising the potential of research and innovation as drivers of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.”

“UCD’s pioneering world-class research in agri-food and bioeconomy is a great example of Irish leadership in forging links between academia and industry to provide innovative solutions to urgent global challenges such as food security. I look forward to seeing proposals coming forward from UCD to lead FP9 projects on agri-food with European and global partners.” 

Among those attending the seminar were MEPs from Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK, Belgium, Portugal and Slovakia; representatives from Ireland’s Permanent Representation in Brussels, and Permanent Representations from other EU Members States, representatives from  African embassies to the EU, the European Commission, the European Parliament, NGOs and representatives from Embassies located in Brussels.

Pictured in Brussels are Brian Hayes MEP and Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact. (Michael Chia, Photographer).

Submitted on 28/02/2018