Teagasc and UCC launch partnership
TWO of Ireland's leading agri-food research bodies have signed a historic partnership agreement aimed at securing and expanding strategic R&D funding over the next decade.
Teagasc and University College Cork (UCC) last Friday confirmed a strategic alliance which has been hailed as a major step towards achieving a single national food research programme.
The unified, coordinated research strategy is also expected to help UCC/Teagasc emerge as a world leader in the development of cutting-edge, high-value consumer food products.
Over the past 10 years UCC and Teagasc have separately benefited from research funding of more than €80m.
But it is now hoped that a combined UCC/Teagasc food research programme will not only guarantee that level of funding over the next decade, but also deliver a significant increase in grant-aid for key food research projects.
Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith said it was strategically vital that Ireland maximise the research potential of the agri-food sector which, in turn, will help generate employment within one of Ireland's most important industries.
"This 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," he said.
Food and drink processing in Ireland currently has a gross annual turnover of €25bn and accounts for 8pc of gross domestic product (GDP). Critically, the Irish agri-food sector either directly or indirectly provides employment for 230,000 people.