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Ireland launches technology transfer strategy for food firms

By Rod Addy , 11-May-2012

Ireland has launched a technology transfer strategy to support the development of its food and drink industry.

Plans were announced yesterday by Irish prime minister Enda Kenny as an exhibition of more than 40 technologies for the food industry was unveiled by Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, the Teagasc. The show took place at Dublin’s Aviva stadium.

The Teagasc’s Portfolio of Food Technologies opens five gateways or opportunities for food companies to use and exploit. These cover a comprehensive resource of technology offers, updates, services, expertise and scientists that will be available for food companies to actively engage with.

Five gateways

The five gateways include Technology Offers, which invite manufacturers to link up with those filing patent applications for new technologies and Technology Updates, providing processors with a regular feed of current innovation.

The Technology Services gateway makes pilot plant facilities at Moorepark and Ashtown in Ireland available to food companies. Similarly, Technology Expertise offers product development and wider services; expertise; facilities; technical training and consultancy.

Finally the Technology Profiles gateway pledges to connect Teagasc scientists with the best scientists and researchers from around the world.

Ambitious targets

“Achieving the ambitious targets in Food Harvest 2020 [the Teagasc’s vision for the development of the Irish agri-food and fisheries industry] will require significant investment by food companies in innovation,” said Teagasc director professor Gerry Boyle.

“Teagasc research can help food companies develop a stronger culture of innovation to achieve growth and enhance employment opportunities. This new technology transfer strategy supports the agri-food sector to turn knowledge into commercial products and processes.”

Technical needs

Declan Troy, assistant director of research at the Teagasc, said: “We understand the technical needs of food companies and we want to ensure that our technologies are fully utilised and our capabilities are fully accessible to the industry.”

The Teagasc engages with more than 300 Irish food firms annually, helping them to develop, create value and improve competitiveness. It invests €15m a year in food research to support science-based innovation in the food sector.

The Irish food sector delivered €24bn of sales in 2011 and exported €8.85bn. Two thirds of the exports came from indigenous Irish-owned companies.

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