Irish Bioeconomy Foundation Receives Enterprise Ireland Funding to Develop a New Bioeconomy Innovation and Piloting Facility
– Facility one of 21 projects to secure Regional Enterprise Development funding
– Facility will be located at site of former Lisheen mine, Co. Tipperary
– University College Dublin founding member of foundation
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, has announced substantial funding of €۴.۶ million to support the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation CLG to develop a new Bioeconomy Innovation and Piloting Facility at Lisheen, Co. Tipperary.
The facility will enable industry, entrepreneurs and researchers to scale technologies that convert Ireland’s natural resources to products of high value for use in a wide variety of sectors including food ingredients, feed ingredients, pharmaceuticals, natural chemicals and biodegradable plastics.
The facility is one of 21 regional projects to receive funding through the first round of Enterprise Ireland’s new €۶۰ million competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund.
The 21 successful applicants, representing all regions of the country, have secured up to €۳۰.۵ million in the first competitive call. The Fund, which is an open national competitive call to support regional projects, is provided by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as a key action to support the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and the Action Plan for Rural Development.
The Bioeconomy Innovation and Piloting Facility is a Stream 1, or major change project, and will receive €۴.۶ million in funding towards capital and current costs.
The Irish Bioeconomy Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2016 by Tipperary County Council, Commercial Mushroom Producers, Glanbia, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Limerick Institute of Technology to promote the conversion of Ireland’s natural land and sea resources to high value products for the development of a globally competitive sustainable bioeconomy.
In 2013 a taskforce, fully supported by Tipperary County Council, was established to seek alternative uses of the Lisheen mine site which finally closed in November 2015. One of the outputs of this taskforce, currently chaired by Alan Buckley, a former general manager at the mine, was the establishment of the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation.
The taskforce, together with Professor Kevin O’Connor, a leading green technologies research and innovator at UCD’s School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and the UCD Earth Institute and Director of BEACON, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Bioeconomy Research Centre, recommended redevelopment of the Lisheen site as a National Bioeconomy Campus with the aim of creating significant employment opportunities presented by the bioeconomy.
Professor O’Connor is currently shaping the European Bioeconomy Strategy through his chairmanship of the Scientific Committee for the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBIJU), a €۴ billion European public-private partnership.