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Start Fund


The Teagasc Start Fund is an annual internal research fund, offering the opportunity to Teagasc researchers to avail of up to €15,000 for a 6-month project to aid in early-stage assessment of concepts and ground-breaking innovations with commercial potential. Launched in 2021, Teagasc START Fund aims to support the development of early-stage commercialisation projects that may in time form new spin-out companies.


Seven teams have received funding through the competitive START fund calls in the last 12 months drawn from across Teagasc research centres as outlined in the table.


Team 1

Names - Susanne Barth, Sergei Kushnir & Ewen Mullins

Location - Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin

Ryegrass hybrid breeding service

Perennial ryegrass is the key forage species in temperate grasslands as it is the basis for meat and milk production and is the major forage seed sold for permanent pastures.   95% of all forage grass seed sold in Ireland is perennial ryegrass.


Team 2

Names - Maria Hayes &  Emer Shannon

Location - Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin

BioHealth Products

This invention includes generation and identification of a novel functional food ingredient from an edible seaweed for use as a prebiotic (‘food for gut bacteria’) to enhance gut health.   The target markets that this technology addresses is the Functional ingredients for human market, immune health and the animal feed prebiotic market.


Team 3

Names - Maria Hayes & Paula O’ Connor

Location - Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin & Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy

Pet Aging and Wellness (PAW) products:

PAW products is a novel fish protein hydrolysate ingredient produced and formulated using Teagasc patented technology that can be fed to pets to help to prevent high blood pressure, weight gain and potentially inflammation. The target market is the functional ingredients for pets including the pet treat market.


Team 4

Names - Peadar Lawlor, Prof Gillian Gardiner (SETU, Waterford); Dr Ruth Rattigan (SETU, Waterford)

Location - Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre,Teagasc, Moorepark

ProSwine - Mapping a path to market for a novel probiotic feed additive for pigs

ProSwine is a technology that reduces the need for antibiotic interventions. The market entry strategy is to target the animal feed additive sector, valued at at US$ 40 Billion in 2021.


Team 5

Names - John Leech & Paul Cotter

Location - Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy

Bespoke Fermented Foods (BFFs)

The project is exploring the provision of fermented foods rich in tailor-made microbial communities with optimised, targeted health and wellness benefits. Teagasc’s international reputation in this field will allow the team to build an entire science-based, market-driven brand around these foods.


Team 6

Names - Norah O’Shea

Location - Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy


The bespoke collaborative robotic and vision system platform technology provides a robust and consistent quality control methodology for evaluating reconstitution properties of powdered nutritional products.  


Team 7

Names - Shivani Pathania

Location - Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin

Clean Green Packaging

This project seeks to optimise a semi-automatic machine with gas flush capabilities for clean green packaging of ready to eat/heat food products.  This represents a commercial opportunity to develop and commercialise clean and green packaging solutions for small food manufacturers.





We will be opening the Start Fund 2023 call in early 2023. If you are a Teagasc researcher and you have a technology or concept you would like to explore, please contact techtransfer@teagasc.ie to find out more. 

 START Fund Winners

2021 Winners: 


Prof Paul Cotter & Dr John Leech, Bespoke Fermented Foods  


Dr Susanna Barth & Dr Serguei Kouchnir, Ewen Mullins: Hybrid Ryegrass Breeding 


Dr Norah O'Shea: VisioBot 


2022 Winners:  


Dr Maria Hayes & Dr Paula O'Connor: Pet Aging and Wellness 


Dr Maria Hayes & Dr Emer Shannon: BioHealth 


Dr Shivani Pathania: Tamper Proof Packaging


Dr Peadar Lawlor & Prof Gillian Gardiner (SETU), Dr Ruth Rattigan (SETU)Proswine