Creed turns sod on €8.8 million Moorepark investment

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has turned the sod on a new €8.8 million National Food Innovation Hub at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, today, Monday, 13 January.

The investment – part of Project Ireland 2040 – is being made with funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

According to a statement from Teagasc, the investment aims to support innovation in the food industry, thus enabling companies to become Brexit-ready while also generating market-focused research initiatives.

The concept of the Food Innovation Hub is as follows: The facility will allow companies to rent laboratories and offices to locate their own Research & Development (R&D) teams within the Teagasc Moorepark Research Centre.

These teams will collaborate with Teagasc researchers and access state-of the art laboratory equipment and the recently upgraded Moorepark Technology Limited (MTL) pilot plant facility.

The addition of the new Food Hub provides an environment for food companies to enhance their research and innovation capacity and ability to innovate to reach new markets abroad.

The investment complements a recent €10 million investment by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine in the Prepared Consumer Foods Centre, which is based at Teagasc Ashtown.

Speaking at the event, Minister Creed said: “There are many features that make the location of the Food Innovation Hub an attractive offering for companies.

“These include: Access to analytical laboratories; pilot plant infrastructure; critical mass in R & D, and an opportunity to connect with world leading food scientists.

The Teagasc Food Research Programme is internationally recognised and spans the entire food chain, from production at farm level to processing operations and analytical testing.

“It focuses on industry relevant research and its success is built on its specialist nature, innovative capacity and research infrastructure.”

Teagasc director, Prof. Gerry Boyle said: “The combination of highly qualified staff, extensive facilities and national and international linkages makes Teagasc Moorepark an ideal location for the Food Innovation Hub.

By renting a unit, both national and international companies have the opportunity to leverage world-class resources to enhance their own research and innovation programmes.

“The Hub concept provides a unique offering that can form part of Enterprise Ireland initiatives to secure foreign direct investment with international companies.

“It provides opportunities at Teagasc for collaborative research with Industry that can even extend to tripartite arrangements between Teagasc, a national and international company.

The Food Hub is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2020 and – according to Teagasc – has generated “strong interest” across the food research sector with close to 90% of available spaces already pre-let.