Seamus O’Mahony believes a scientific based approach is key to the future success of the Irish dairy industry.
An internationally acclaimed scientist and educator from the north Cork village of Glenville has been appointed to the prestigious role of Professor of Dairy Science at University College Cork.
Hailing form a farming background in Glenville, Prof Seamus O’Mahony brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having originally completed BsC and PhD Degrees in Food Science at UCC. Having been awarded one of the first Irish Research Council funded fellowships he completed his post-doctoral research at the Teagasc Food Research Centre at Moorepark, Fermoy.
Prior to joining UCC in 2010, Prof O’Mahony worked with Wyeth/Pfizer Nutrition, where he led a group focussed on infant formula ingredient development.
The father of three, who worked as a lecturer in Food Science for 12-years prior to taking up his new role, is Pillar Leader and funded investigator on the Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland-funded Dairy Processing Technology Centre and Vistamilk Research Centre.
An internationally recognised leader in nutritional dairy ingredient science and technology, he leads the digital dairy learning and innovation hub of the new EU-funded Dairy Centre of Vocational Excellence across Europe.
Responding to the evolving needs of the dairy sector and harnessing the world-class capabilities in Food UCC, Prof O’Mahony has led the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Dairy Science at UCC, providing leadership, integration and a platform for future growth.
He has also been a key driver behind the introduction of new employment-based post-graduate research programmes in dairy ingredients and processing in partnership with Irish and international dairy companies and the introduction of a new diploma in Dairy Technology and Innovation.
In his new role Prof O’Mahony will be responsible for building on UCC’s long association with Dairy Science education, research and training and enhancing its reputation as Ireland’s leading University in the sector.
In fact, the Food Science and Nutritional Sciences programmes at UCC are the main providers of graduates for the Irish dairy sector, which is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry employing around 85,000 people and worth an estimated €16 billion to the Irish economy.
Taking up his new role, Professor O’Mahony warned that the future success of the Irish dairy industry depends on what he described as ‘science-based add-on’ through investment in the sector.
“Securing a sustainable future for the Irish dairy industry will require a shift in focus away from volume-based expansion to science-based value-add,” said Prof O’Mahony.
“Greater investment in fundamental dairy science will attract the types of skilled researchers and professionals required to achieve this transition,” he added.
Commenting on the appointment, UCC president Professor John O’Halloran said recognising the expertise of people like Professor O’Mahony was core to UCC’s ‘Futures Initiative’.
“This will support innovation and translate sector leading research into real solutions to meet the challenges facing our society,” said Prof O’Halloran.
“Food security, production and value are key issues that leading experts such as Seamus are well-positioned to tackle,” he added.