National Food Innovation Hub
The Teagasc Food Research Programme is the driver for science-based innovations and solutions for national and international food companies. Success results from the extensive expertise resident within the Food Programme, in both dairy and non-dairy disciplines.
The National Food Innovation Hub, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), is located at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark. The facility links together three major research components:
- the Teagasc Food Research Programme and analytical capability
- a state of the art pilot plant facility –
- the new custom designed secure company laboratory and office units - the National Food Innovation Hub
The National Food Innovation Hub Launch
An €8.8 million investment by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at Teagasc Moorepark was officially opened by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Friday 17th September. Liam Herlihy, Chairman of Teagasc chaired the event
The industry units at the hub consist of private, secure company dedicated offices, laboratories and storage space. The National Food Innovation Hub also includes a boardroom, training centre and full ICT infrastructure. A large modern shared canteen facility provides all catering requirements for staff and events.
The National Food Innovation Hub provides a platform whereby companies of all sizes can build a research base. Its location on the Moorepark campus, adjacent to the Teagasc Food Research Centre, gives access to sophisticated analytical instrumentation for research and development purposes, coupled with support from expert food research scientists. These include:
- the Teagasc DNA Sequencing Facility
- the National Food Imaging Centre
- Flavour Chemistry Facility
- Bioactive Protein Discovery Unit
- Bio-Functional Food Engineering Facility and Rheology suite.
Teagasc is also a host institute for the SFI Research Centres, APC Microbiome Ireland and VistaMilk.
The National Food Innovation Hub complements the recent investment by DAFM into the adjacent, ultra-modern, pilot plant facilities at MTL. MTL can support pre-commercial scale manufacturing trials to provide realistic product and process transfer to industry clients.
Other facilities include:
- the Prepared Consumer Foods Centre (PCFC) at the Teagasc Ashtown campus, recently upgraded through funding from DAFM
- the BIA Innovator is currently under construction at the Teagasc Mellows Campus in Athenry, an investment from DAFM, the Department of Rural and Community Development, Enterprise Ireland, Galway County Council, Teagasc and the Irish Government.
The addition of the new National Food Innovation Hub makes Moorepark an attractive place for food companies looking for a unique innovation environment in terms of infrastructure, critical mass in R & D, and an opportunity to collaborate.
The Food Research Programme links to all National Universities and many Colleges in Ireland. This is primarily through the Teagasc Walsh Fellowship scheme, where PhD students undertake fundamental research in Teagasc and are registered with the relevant university/college.
Opportunities arise annually for recruitment of new post-graduate students. Many are linked to specific industry related projects, funded either externally through funding agencies or companies or internally funded by Teagasc.
Teagasc and University College Cork have formed a strategic alliance in food research. The main purpose of the alliance is to build greater scientific critical mass to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the two organisations in underpinning innovation in the food industry. This alliance delivers scientific
expertise and support to industry in the areas of:
- Food & Health
- Food Science & Technology
- Food and the Consumer
The Food Research Programme also participates in a number of the national Industry-Led virtual centres
- Food for Health Ireland
- Dairy Processing Technology Centre
- Meat Technology Ireland
In addition it links to many State Agencies including Bord Bia (The Irish Food Board), the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the National Dairy Council etc.
Linkages are not simply national; we have connections far and wide, which include both industry and academic linkages. There is a direct link to a laboratory in China for Food Structure studies. Teagasc also has close links to the International Dairy Federation with the Head of the Food Programme being the secretary of the National Committee.