European National Forest Research Institutes met in Dublin
Opening the meeting, Minister of State Connick stressed the importance of such a meeting as "It affords a unique opportunity for participants to share approaches to solving common research issues, and to explore ways to better cooperate, and in some cases, pool scarce resources".
The Minister of State noted that "Ireland's tradition in forest research dates back to the middle of the last century" and that it "remains an essential part of our drive to expand forest cover over the coming decades". He added "that funding for forest research under the various headings of the COFORD programme has doubled in real terms since 1994, to reach close on €4m today. R&D and innovation investment in the wood supply chain by other state agencies, principally Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc and Coillte brings the annual level of investment close to €8 million".
Minister of State Connick stressed that "Investment in research needs to be strongly linked to value-for-money outcomes in terms of policies and practices. As well as supporting competitiveness, it must address society's needs in areas such as climate change mitigation and water quality. It must look outwards to policy processes, and engage and advise the policy makers." He highlighted the example of TreeMetrics - a young Irish company that has developed novel ways to measure trees and noted that their product offering grew out of research that was part-funded under the COFORD programme and through collaboration with a number of European forest-research institutions. "Such collaboration is, in our view, highly desirable and likely to greatly increase in the future, as we seek ways to get better value from scarce resources".
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