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Independent.ie

Sunday 30 April 2017

Teagasc and UCC launch partnership

DISCUSSING STRATEGY: (from left) Alliance chairman Professor Michael Dowling, Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, Teagasc
director professor Gerry Boyle and UCC president Dr Michael Murphy have a chat at the launch of the University College Cork/Teagasc Stategic Alliance in food research.
DISCUSSING STRATEGY: (from left) Alliance chairman Professor Michael Dowling, Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, Teagasc director professor Gerry Boyle and UCC president Dr Michael Murphy have a chat at the launch of the University College Cork/Teagasc Stategic Alliance in food research.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

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.

The new UCC/Teagasc research deal will see streamlined and coordinated R&D projects within the dairy, meat, consumer foods, cereals and beverages sectors.

A key element of the R&D drive will be ensuring that Ireland emerges as a world-leader in the development and marketing of healthy consumer foods.

Hammered

The agreement was hammered out under the supervision of former Department of Agriculture secretary, Michael Dowling, and has met with the tacit approval of major Irish agri-food firms.

Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said it was an exciting day for both organisations and a very bright R&D future now beckoned. "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," he said.

UCC president, Professor Michael Murphy, said Teagasc and UCC already have a long and successful history of cooperation.

"This has [already] led to some of the most important, internationally recognised, food research programmes in Ireland such as the SF1-funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) and the Enterprise Ireland-funded Food for Health Ireland (FHI)," he added.

UCC and Teagasc have already forged a hugely successful partnership via R&D at the National Dairy Research Centre at Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork.

This complex has been to the forefront of the development and 'fine-tuning' of some of the most successful dairy products launched in Ireland over the past 20 years.

Irish Independent



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