Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson and Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA have co-hosted an Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) delegation visiting the European Parliament in Brussels.

Martina Anderson said:

“The programme of meetings with various officials from the Parliament and EU Commission was part of my commitment to “bringing the EU to the people and bringing people to EU”. The focus of the visit was particularly concerned with potential funding streams in the upcoming funding period of 2014-2020. Particularly relevant to the work AFBI are doing at home is the Horizon 2020 programme which is the funding mechanism for innovation.

“The six members of the AFBI delegation group met with officials from Director General (DG) Agriculture, DG for Maritime affairs, DG for Environment as well as with Ireland’s Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan Quinn.

“Those from the different departments that met with the AFBI group were impressed with the breadth of work the institute is doing around issues concerning Agriculture, plant and animal health, marine research, sea and inland fisheries, amongst others. They identified a number of funding objectives within the Horizon 2020 Programme that relate directly to AFBI’s work in research into sustainable agriculture, food security and bio-energy and recognised the potential for future funding that its work presents.

“The main objectives of AFBI’s visit were to raise awareness of the AFB Institute and their work, in the EU, and to learn more about upcoming EU funding for research and innovation. I think the visit certainly achieved these objectives. Having a discussion with the Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan Quinn was especially useful for understanding the potential funding and support that exists in Europe.”