New partnership announced to develop Ireland's bioeconomy and help tackle climate change

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BiOrbic SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre signed an agreement today (17 October 2019) with the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) to create partnerships and opportunities for collaboration across the technological higher education sector.

BiOrbic and THEA have come together to create collaborative mechanisms to further develop Ireland’s bioeconomy through partnerships in research, development, innovation, education and training opportunities, with a particular focus on regional development. This is the first time that THEA has signed an MOU with an SFI Research Centre and creates opportunities for BiOrbic to collaborate with all of THEA’s higher education institutions across Ireland. The agreement is signed as part of Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2019.

Ireland’s bioeconomy supports economic development and employment in rural Ireland through promotion of a sustainable use of renewable biological resources while unlocking the commercial potential of bioeconomic activities. The footprint of the technological higher education sector is particularly efficient in this respect, reaching from Donegal to Tralee, Connemara to Waterford, Dundalk through the midlands.

Dr Jennifer Brennan, Director of Research Development & Innovation with THEA, said “This agreement allows the BiOrbic centre to create opportunities for collaboration with all of our members. Two of our members, IT Tralee and LIT are already developing ideas for joint initiatives with BiOrbic and we look forward to working with the centre to extend that partnership across the regions.”

“Key to developing a vibrant, sustainable circular bioeconomy in Ireland is the need to work together collaboratively. BiOrbic brings together expertise in this way. Our aim is to grow the size of our centre and breadth of our research portfolio through collaboration with investigators, institutions and industry as partners and increasing our access to European funding”, said Professor Kevin O’Connor, Director, BiOrbic SFI Bioeconomy Research Centre.

“Signing this MoU with THEA allows for interaction and dialogue with the technological higher education sector as a whole and creates opportunities for us to make valuable connections between researchers right across the country. It is particularly significant that we are signing this agreement during Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2019, where bioeconomy events and activities are taking place right across the country, shining a spotlight on new and exciting opportunities, particularly in rural areas”.

“The bioeconomy provides a tangible opportunity to proactively address the climate challenges we are facing in Ireland and globally through the use of our natural resources. The bioeconomy is a fundamental shift in how we produce and consume as a society and as an economy. Working together and collaborating is key to achieving this change and our agreement with THEA today is a significant step in that direction, concluded O’Connor.