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Teagasc Welcomes SFI and Industry Investment in Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre

Teagasc Director Prof Gerry Boyle welcomed the launch, the next phase of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) by Mr. Sean Sherlock TD, Minister for Research and Innovation and Mr. Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Today, Friday, 21 June, the government announced funding, through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, of €36 million which will leverage a further investment of €14 million from industry, for research at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), Cork, designating it as a national centre for food and medicine research excellence. The APC will carry out world-class research into how bacteria in the human gut impacts on population health, leading to the development of future foods and medicines.

Announcing the funding, Minister Sherlock stated: “The importance of continued investment in research cannot be underestimated both in terms of job creation and its overall impact on society. A central part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to ensure that research is better targeted at turning the good ideas of our top-class researchers into good products and high quality jobs.

Minister Coveney added “I am delighted that institutions such as University College Cork, Teagasc, The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, and Cork Institute of Technology are collaborating in ensuring the success of this national centre for food and medicine research. The continued and on-going commitment of private enterprise is also critical for long-term success and I congratulate and applaud companies such as Kerry Group, Wyeth Nutrition, Alimentary Health, Second Genome, Trino Therapeutics and Sigmoid Pharma for investing in the success of the APC.”

Prof Boyle congratulated Prof Shanahan, Director of the APC, and his team in UCC and Teagasc which includes Professors Paul Ross and Catherine Stanton (APC Principal Investigators based in Teagasc Moorepark) on the success to date of the APC and wished it well for the future. “Ireland has just received a special mention as one of five ‘Up and Coming’ destinations for high level research based on the quality and quantity of scientific research being carried out in our research institutes from Nature Magazine, the eminent scientific publishing journal. No doubt the contribution of the APC and particularly the ‘Gut microbiota composition correlates with diet and health in the elderly’ publication in Nature in 2012 was important in this regard. Paul Ross and Catherine Stanton, scientists from Teagasc, were authors of that paper along with colleagues from UCC,” commented Prof Boyle. “This investment announced today and the continued support of the DAFM for our Food Research programme, positions Teagasc well to make a major contribution to the development of our food sector in the coming years”.

Speaking at the announcement, Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI said: “The APC is a world leader in the area of probiotics research and we are confident of its continued success. We expect that APC will expand and further leverage this initial investment through successful applications to the EU and by developing additional academic and industry partners in Ireland and internationally.”