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Prof Catherine Stanton, APC PI, secures €2m joint Ireland-New Zealand grant to develop methane-reducing bacteria in rumen

16 Dec 2022
Awards of over €3.6M for Irish researchers in four climate and agriculture research projects arising from the 2022 Ireland – New Zealand Joint Research Call were announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., and Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation, Martin Heydon T.D. Pictured at the announcement were Dr Donagh Berry, Teagasc and Director of Vista Milk; Minister Martin Heydon T.D, Dr Dominika Krol, (Agricultural) Gaseous Emissions Researcher, Teagasc Johnstown Castle, Brad Burgess, New Zealand Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Catherine Stanton, Teagasc Food Research programme and APC, and Dr Paul Smith, Teagasc Researcher, Animal and Grassland, Research and Innovation Centre, Grange.

Ministers McConalogue and Heydon announce over €3.6 million for climate-related research in a joint collaboration with New Zealand.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D., and Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation Martin Heydon T.D., today announced awards of over €3.6M for Irish researchers in four climate and agriculture research projects arising from the 2022 Ireland – New Zealand Joint Research Call.


Total funding from both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries will amount to over €7M for the four successful projects.


The research seeks to address the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from pasture-based livestock systems to help meet the climate goals of both countries.


Speaking on the announcement of the awards, Minister McConalogue said “I am delighted to be able to announce, in collaboration with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, the awarding of over €7M in combined funding for research projects to help tackle the critical issue of enteric emissions from livestock farming. Awards under this new partnership reflect the significant investment that both governments are making to help ensure the future sustainability of our livestock systems”.


Minister of State Martin Heydon T.D., remarked “Ireland and New Zealand are unique in being faced with a significant challenge to reduce and offset emissions from our pasture-based, livestock farming systems. Research and innovation will play a key role in addressing that challenge. The collaboration we will see in these four projects, will bring together some of the best expertise, know-how, equipment and experience in both our countries and by working together, I am confident we can speed up the pace of the research and deliver solutions that the sector needs.”


For his part, Minister For Primary Industries Damien O’Connor M.P. remarked


“New Zealand and Ireland understand the complexities of farming systems and the need to enhance productivity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


“The partnership between New Zealand and Ireland, including the new projects announced today, will allow both countries to accelerate research to deliver much-needed tools and technology to farmers to reduce their emissions.


“New Zealand and Ireland are also founding members of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).  We have shared interests in pasture-based farming, we co-chair the GRA Livestock Research Group, and are committed to reducing agricultural emissions globally.”


The four projects are in key areas including rumen microbiology for reducing GHG emissions, monitoring and emission reduction technologies, animal breeding for reduced emissions, and inventory improvement. Taken together they offer significant potential for the development of new insights and technologies to better account for, and mitigate, GHG emissions.

The 2022 Ireland – New Zealand Joint Research Call

The Joint Research Call invited research proposals were invited under the following three topic areas;

  • Topic 1: Rumen Microbiology to Support the Development of Ruminant GHG Mitigation Technologies
  • Topic 2: Identification and development of technologies for the selection of low emitting ruminant livestock
  • Topic 3: Refinement of agricultural GHG emissions inventories through the development of emission factors for Nitrous Oxide and Carbon

Funded Projects

Total funding provided jointly by DAFM and MPI under the first call of the pilot research initiative is €7,079,587 with DAFM providing €3,624,075 for the Irish Research Performing Organisations (RPO’s) involved and MPI providing the balance for the research organisations in New Zealand

The successful projects and awards are as follows:

  1. RUmen microbiome MINING for bacterial cultures to reduce methane – RU_MINING (DAFM - €992,712.62, Total - €1,992,713.39)
    1. Irish Co-ordinator: Catherine Stanton (Teagasc Moorepark)
    2. New Zealand Coordinator: William Kelly (AgResearch Ltd)
  2. Development and Validation of high throughput predictors for large capacity screening of methane emitting ruminant livestock at an individual and system level – Methane-Predict (DAFM - €1,004,404.22, Total - €1,995,675.02)
    1. Irish Co-ordinator: Fiona McGovern (Teagasc Athenry)
    2. New Zealand Coordinator: Suzanne Rowe (AgResearch Ltd)
  3. REfining Emission Factors for Inventory Reporting – REEFIR (DAFM - €631,012.14, Total - €1,495,952.35)
    1. Irish Co-ordinator: Dominika Kroll (Teagasc Johnstown Castle)
    2. New Zealand Coordinator: Tony van der Weerden (AgResearch Ltd)
  4. Roadmap for efficient and effective ruminant breeding programs to reduce enteric methane production – ROADMAP (DAFM - €995,946.52, Total - €1,595,246.52)
    1. Irish Co-ordinator: Donagh Berry (Teagasc Moorepark)
    2. New Zealand Coordinator: Natalie Howes (AbacusBio Ltd)


Host Institution

Host Logos - UCC and Teagasc

Partner Institutions

APC Microbiome Ireland

Biosciences Building, University College Cork, Ireland,