According to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan, the money will go to a variety of projects, including ones looking at agri-energy, agri-environment and biodiversity, plant bioscience and agri-economy and policy.

Most of the schemes which obtained money from the 2007 Research Stimulus Fund Programme (RSFP) should be completed within three years and many will involve inter-institutional collaboration.

The minister said that she was particularly pleased that there were a total of seven new projects which will be looking at the issue of agri-energy. She added that this was an area of special interest as fossil fuel prices increased and the world began to see biofuels as an alternative.

All of the projects which received funding will make their results freely available to the public and it is hoped that many will benefit the wider rural community.

Recently, Ms Coughlan revealed the second phase of the Bioenergy Scheme. This offered grants to farmers to plant willow and miscanthus for bioenergy purposes.

James Cooper

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