Press Release 27 Nov 2013

Minister Bruton announces €21M investment in ‘milk mining’
The centre will employ 73 people

Richard Bruton T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation today announced a second term of funding worth €21M for the functional foods Technology Centre, Food for Health Ireland (FHI).

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland will invest €16M in FHI with the remaining €5M being provided by the companies involved in the research centre; Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, the Kerry Group, and the Irish Dairy Board.

Details of the investment were made at the first Technology Centres Expo which was hosted jointly by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in Leopardstown, Dublin. FHI is one of 15 Technology Centres in the €100M Technology Centre Programme which is supported by the Department of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, and will employ 73 people

There are more than 300 companies in Ireland engaged with 15 technology Centres. These industry-led research centres of excellence operate at the interface between industry and the academic environment to increase the generation of new, commercially viable knowledge. They currently focus on developing new technologies in the areas of cloud, analytics and learning technologies; manufacturing and materials; energy; food and health and financial services and business processes.

Promoting a healthy diet for a healthy life, FHI ‘mines’ milk to identify novel bioactive ingredients to develop functional foods which will offer health benefits to consumers. FHI is increasing its focus on infant nutrition, healthy cheese, sports drinks, ‘healthy aging’ drinks and products that can be used to manage Type 2 diabetes and obesity using the €21M it has received for its second research phase.

Making the announcement Minister Bruton said “The food sector is a key sector targeted as part of the Action Plan for Jobs. FHI is an excellent example of the commercial output that the Government expects from the other centres in the programme, with combination of industry expertise and academic excellence producing a new generation of technologies, products and services.

“My Department is providing €16M in this second term of funding to support the move to human intervention studies and an increased focus in commercialisation of the research outputs of the first phase of the centre. I wish them every success and look forward to seeing the commercial outcomes and ultimately jobs that are created from this initiative” said Minister Bruton.

Jens Bleiel, CEO FHI said: “The first 5-year term of FHI has shown for example, how milk protein-based nutritional supplements can assist in the prevention of age-related muscle loss in people aged 50-70 years. We’ve also seen interesting results from our second human intervention study into the effects of a new milk based ingredient on glycemic management in 40-65 year olds that are either overweight but healthy, or have Type 2 non-insulin dependent diabetes”.

“Through the research conducted by research teams at UCD, UCC, UL, Teagasc, NUI G, NUI M and DCU, FHI is bringing an array of promising ingredients into this second phase of our work and an important part of our funding will be used to conduct human intervention studies to test the health benefits of these ingredients. We look forward to seeing them on the market where consumers can reap the benefits of this research” concluded Mr Bleiel.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland said “Irish companies need to engage with these Technology Centres to get a competitive advantage by introducing more innovative technologies to their business which can reduce costs and assist in the development of new commercially viable products and services”.

“Like the other 14 Technology Centres that Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland support, the model that has proven successful for FHI is where a group of companies with similar development needs set the research agenda which is then delivered by the best researchers in the field.”

Dermot Clohessy, Executive Director, IDA Ireland said "The highly qualified research undertaken at FHI and the other 14 Technology Centres will benefit both indigenous and international companies. This IDA supported initiative will drive innovation and deliver real commercial opportunities."

The Technology Centre Expo showcased the work of the 15 established centres which between them have a company membership of over 300 companies, both multinational and indigenous companies.  

For more information contact:
DJEI: Conor Quinn, Tel: 00353 (1) 631 2200, 087-3743783.
Enterprise Ireland: Grace Labanyi, Tel: 00353 (1)1 7272746 087 3286404.
IDA Ireland: Kevin Sammon, Tel: 00353 (1) 6034023, 087 6188564.

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