News in Brief

Irish Food Tech cluster created to strengthen industry and research links

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock/BrianAJackson
Picture: iStock/BrianAJackson
A food and beverage technology cluster has been established in Ireland thanks to government funding.

Irish Food Tech is a consortium of seven of Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Gateways and will help connect researchers with industry.

It is part of the Technology Gateway Network formed in 2013.

John Halligan, minister of state for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, announced funding of €26.75m for the network over five years until 2022.

“As with the other two sectoral clusters in the network, Applied IoT and EMD Ireland, the aim of Irish Food Tech is to optimise the power of the network and connect industry with researchers in a wide selection of areas that include bioprocessing, food for health, process control and packaging.”

Gearoid Mooney, manager of research and innovation at Enterprise Ireland, added the network offers an access point providing technology expertise which is industry relevant.

“Projects range from small starts-up in the regions making use of the Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Voucher Scheme, to larger companies using the Innovation Partnership Programme. However, the most common mechanism by which companies engage via the gateways is through projects they pay for completely themselves without leveraging any state funding.”

Cold plasma research

In other news, the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) in Belfast is to establish a research facility to investigate a technology with potential to reduce chemicals and antibiotics in the food chain.

The Centre for Plasma in Agri-Food (AgriPlas) will focus on research into cold plasma – ionised gases or liquids that have antimicrobial properties – and potential commercial applications.

AgriPlas will work with the Northern Ireland, UK and European agri-food industry on projects to explore use of plasma technology in extending shelf life of agri-food products and farm biosecurity.

It is funded through the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), one of the UK's four Agri-Tech Centres, with £350,000 investment from Innovate UK and co-investment by Queen's University.

Related topics: Business, Healthy foods, Marketing

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