Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and ABP Food Group have agreed a new partnership that will see the development of a DkIT ‘talent upskilling pathway’ in science, engineering and business.

The agreement will run for three years and will focus on collaboration between the institute and ABP through academic programme development.

Joint research initiatives and co-operative marketing and sponsorship opportunities will also feature as part of the new agreement.

The partnership will explore the possibility of establishing a dedicated meat industry research and development facility at DkIT, according to the institute.

The agreement was announced today, Friday, May 3, at the DkIT Industry Showcase, which was attended by a number of guests, including Heather Humphreys, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.

“The agri-food sector is a cornerstone of the Irish economy and innovation is crucial to ensuring that it continues to thrive,” said the minister.

“Partnerships between higher education and industry create valuable opportunities for economic growth in our regions, bringing new opportunities for our graduates and skilled professionals who wish to live and work locally,” she added.

They also provide an important flow of knowledge and access to leading-edge technology for businesses, enabling them to remain competitive in today’s fast-evolving global market.

Meanwhile, Martin Kane, managing director for ABP Ireland, said that the agreement would take the current relationship between the group and the institute to the “next level”.

“It will help us to future-proof the relevant skillsets that are required for an evolving dynamic international environment. We see this as a multi-disciplinary partnership, which will involve many of DkIT’s departments, including agriculture, food science, marketing, business, engineering and IT,” Kane said.

Today’s DkIT Industry Showcase involved over 100 industry representatives across north Leinster and south Ulster.

During her address to the showcase, Minister Humphreys commented that it “demonstrates the huge potential in higher-education institutions in Ireland to convert publicly-funded research into ground-breaking technologies and spin-out companies”.