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Minister Creed Launches European Innovation Partnerships under the Rural Development Programme

Speaking at the National Rural Networks Annual Conference today the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, launched the European Innovation Partnerships initiative under the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020.

The Minister said, “I am delighted to have been invited here today to open the National Rural Network’s first Annual Conference. And I am particularly pleased that the purpose of today’s conference is to introduce European Innovation Partnerships, as provided for in our Rural Development Programme”.

The Minister continued that the purpose of these Innovation Partnerships was to “generate new ideas and new ways of doing things”, and that in order to do so “we need to work together to give us new solutions to old problems”.

He outlined that the partnerships would involve farmers, scientists, advisors, NGOs and others coming together in operational groups to address a specific issue or to take advantage of a new opportunity.  He noted that the ultimate aim of these innovation partnerships is to road-test new ideas and practices which can then be used more widely by farmers and others to improve productivity, enhance resource efficiency and pursue sustainable farming practices.

Referring to the funding available he said that the initiative will make available an EAFRD co- funded amount  of €59 million for pilot projects which I believe will, in time, feed into the twin objectives of economic growth and sustainability in our rural areas. This is in addition to the budget of €15 million for the Burren Programme, bringing to €74 million the firm commitment to collaborative actions under the Rural Development Programme”.

Note for Editors

The first call for proposals under the new European Innovation Partnership initiative will issue in November, when interested parties will be able to put forward their ideas for pilot projects targeting a range of environmental and other challenges.  This will be a competitive process and the proposals shortlisted for support will then be funded to develop full project-plans, which in turn will form the basis to shortlist for implementation on the ground.  A separate request for tenders will also issue very soon to recruit Project Teams to lead two new locally-led pilot projects targeting conservation of the endangered Hen Harrier and Freshwater Pearl Mussel.   A pre-tender information session has already taken place in relation to this.

Further information can be obtained from: 

  • Locally Led Scheme Section, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford. Lo-Call Number 076 1064454, email

General EIPs Innovation Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.  Telephone 076 1064557, email

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 134/2016 (pdf 384Kb) 

Date Released: 14 October 2016