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Teagasc and UCC Launch Strategic Alliance in Food Research

A major step towards establishing a single food research programme in Ireland to support innovation and development in the food industry was taken today with the launch of the UCC/Teagasc Strategic Alliance in Food Research. This new alliance moves collaboration between the two organisations in food science and technology to a new level, through the sharing of resources, working to a joint research programme and the establishment of a single portal for food companies to access international quality research and innovation.

Speaking at the launch in UCC today, Friday, 28 May, Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD said: ”The food industry has been identified as a major driver in the future of Ireland’s economy. The UCC/Teagasc Strategic Alliance in Food Research will ensure that Irish food companies have improved access to excellent scientific capability, facilities and critical mass that will support the delivery of products, processes and jobs for the Irish economy.”

Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Teagasc and UCC both recognise that we benefit from significant public funding and that this has to be deployed to the greatest possible extent for the benefit of Irish industry. The enhanced capability will permit both UCC and Teagasc to accomplish goals together that they could not achieve separately. It is anticipated that a deeper relationship will bring new and additional resources to both partners through new programmes, efficiencies and resource use optimisation, which will enhance the flow of new information to the Irish food industry and benefit consumers and taxpayers, and be of international significance. The launch of this Alliance represents a further step in my goal of building a culture of collaboration between Teagasc and other organisations to generate critical mass that will yield economic dividends to the industry. I would hope that other institutions will participate in this Alliance in the future.”

President of UCC, Dr Michael Murphy said: “The creation of this Alliance fits perfectly with UCC’s strategy of forming partnerships with other like-minded institutions, partnerships which are based on strong foundations and highly ambitious in scope and intent. UCC and Teagasc have a long history of collaboration. This has led to some of the most important, internationally recognised, food research programmes in Ireland, such as the SFI-funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) and the Enterprise Ireland-funded Food for Health Ireland (FHI). The Alliance will provide a platform for strengthening and deepening the relationship between our two institutions, which will enable us jointly to take a longer-term approach to strategic planning for food research, in close co-operation with our industry partners.”

The Alliance will focus on three thematic areas namely: food and health, food science and technology and food and the consumer. The resources of both organisations will be deployed to build a common food research and innovation programme. More than 250 researchers, post doctorates, and post graduates are currently working across a wide variety of disciplines in food science, food technology, nutrition, food for health and food business. The Alliance creates the opportunity to share the research infrastructure and facilities such as the pilot scale food processing facilities at Moorepark Technology Ltd and at Teagasc Ashtown, the UCC processing hall and the new PRTLI–supported GMP manufacturing facility at UCC.

Chairman of the UCC/Teagasc Strategic Alliance Steering Committee Professor Michael Dowling, said: “With an important input from industry into the direction of the food research programme, the Alliance can play a critical role in contributing to the expansion of the food industry, and to the future economic growth of the country.”

Funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food through the FIRM programme has been hugely important in developing collaboration between the institutions and helping to build the internationally-competitive research capacity Ireland now enjoys in food research. The partners in this Alliance have benefited to the tune of over €80 million in the last 10 years or so and resulted in over 250 joint peer-reviewed publications