Scientists from across Europe and New Zealand gathered on Tuesday 10th October to commence new research projects to develop solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and forestry and improve national GHG inventories. The 1st Research Programme Meeting of FACCE1 ERA-GAS is taking place in Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands. At the meeting, ten new research projects funded in the 2016 FACCE ERA-GAS Joint Call will be officially launched.

While the Horizon 2020 Programme is an important source of funding for research and innovation in the EU, most research funding is still controlled nationally. An ERA-NET Cofund is a funding mechanism whereby national money is pooled to fund transnational projects. The European Commission also provides co-funding for the action. FACCE ERA-GAS is the ERA-NET Cofund for Monitoring and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases from Agri- and Silvi-culture. The FACCE ERA-GAS consortium comprises funding agencies and project partners from 19 organisations across 13 European countries. Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, is the overall coordinator of the ERA-NET. In March 2016, the consortium pooled resources to launch their 2016 Call for transnational research projects, co-funded by the European Commission. New Zealand, represented by the Ministry for Primary Industries, also contributed to the Call. The total call budget was €14.1 Million.

Project proposals had to include partners from at least three different European countries participating in the call. Proposals were subjected to a two-stage evaluation process by an International Evaluation Committee, which was managed by the Research and Codex Division of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Ten project proposals were subsequently selected for funding, involving 71 project partners from 39 different research institutions and companies across 13 EU countries, New Zealand and the US. Over the next three years, these projects will conduct collaborative research to develop improved GHG mitigation solutions, reporting mechanisms and policy instruments for the agriculture and forestry sector.

Dr Frank O’Mara, Teagasc, and Coordinator of FACCE ERA-GAS, said: “International cooperation is urgently needed to tackle the global challenge posed by climate change and food security. Efforts are required to increase the GHG efficiency of food, feed and fuel, enhance carbon sinks and refine national inventories. Through transnational research, the FACCE ERA-GAS projects will develop innovative mitigation and monitoring solutions that extend beyond the local context”.

Dr Christine Bunthof, Wageningen University and Research and FACCE-JPI Secretariat partner, said: “The ERA-NET Cofund instrument provides the researchers of participating countries the opportunity to work in transnational consortia, which are smaller than average H2020 projects and are also easier to manage. The programme complements national research on the one hand and Horizon 2020 programmes on the other hand”.

The 1st FACCE ERA-GAS Research Programme Meeting was hosted by Wageningen University and Research from 10th-11th October 2017 and included an exciting programme of events to launch the new projects and provide opportunities for networking with research funders and stakeholders. Information on the ten FACCE ERA-GAS projects is available.

Source: Teagasc