The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced awards totalling €10 million to fund vital new environmental research. The largest awards have been made to University College Cork and the National University of Ireland, Galway, for projects looking at: recyclable plastics for packaging; and, pesticide management for better water quality. Other awards include research on:
- mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions through diversification of agriculture in Ireland;
- effects of climate change on sea levels around the coast of Ireland;
- impacts of climate change on health and wellbeing in Ireland;
- impact of traffic emissions on air quality in Dublin;
- radioactivity in the Irish coastal environment; and
- greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions from uncontrolled burning in Irish upland areas.
Commenting on the announcement, Laura Burke, Director General, EPA, said,
“Over 100 proposals were received by the EPA Research Programme under EPA Research Calls in 2019 and we are happy to announce today that the most promising projects are now getting underway. Ireland is experiencing complex and systemic challenges which impact on our environment and, by extension, our health. High quality, policy-relevant research is essential to setting out sustainable and low-carbon transition pathways for our society, our ecosystems, and our economy. It is also critical to informing good decision making.”
The EPA environmental research programme is a Government of Ireland initiative, funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment. The programme funds research that addresses important knowledge gaps about climate change, water quality, air quality, waste management, the circular economy, biodiversity, radiation and sustainable development and provides the evidence base to support high quality policy development and implementation in these areas. Collaboration with other State organisations is a key feature of the programme.
Dr Alice Wemaere, EPA Research Manager, said,
“Through the EPA Research Programme, we have leveraged a high level of co-funding from various Departments and Agencies, giving an insight into the integrated nature of the environmental challenges facing us. The co-funding model nurtures an integrated, cross-sectoral approach and provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our collaboration with other organisations in addressing key environmental challenges.
“Co-funding is being provided by the Department of Transport, the Department of Agriculture, the Marine Institute, Met Eireann, the OPW, National Parks & Wildlife, and others. The outputs from these projects will provide an evidence base for credible environmental decision-making into the future and we will ensure that they are widely shared for implementation.”