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Coughlan awards €6.7million to Food Research Projects and announces funds for new call

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today announced that grant assistance of €6.7 million has been approved for 14 food research projects. This brings to over €62 million the total funding approved for the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) under the National Development Plan 2000-2006.

The grants being awarded follow a targeted call for proposals in the theme areas of beverages and food safety. In total, 31 proposals were received from Universities, Teagasc Food Research Centres and Institutes of Technology. The proposals were competitively evaluated by teams of external experts and then submitted to the FIRM Committee for decision on selection and approval. Nine projects under the Food Safety theme have been awarded aid of €4.5 million and five Beverages projects have been awarded €2.2 million.

In paying tribute to the contribution of the Irish food research institutions to the development of a modern, consumer-focused food industry, Minister Coughlan particularly welcomed the increased participation of the Institutes of Technology in this round of the Programme. The Institutes of Technology at Athlone, Limerick and Waterford are participating for the first time while the Dublin and Cork Institutes of Technology are also involved. A full list of the projects being grant aided is attached.

In making the announcement, Minister Coughlan indicated that an advertisement will appear in the national press on Monday, 13th of February, inviting a new round of research proposals from institutions. The theme areas to be covered in the call will include:

  • Food and Health, including functional foods and product reformulation for enhanced health.
  • Food quality and manufacturing including new innovative products, novel technologies.
  • Food safety and security of the food chain.
  • Food, the consumer and the food supply chain.
  • New uses for food and drink by-products.

Additional information on the theme areas and application procedures will be set out in the press notice. Closing date for receipt of proposals will be Friday 31 March 2006.

8 February 2006

NOTE FOR EDITORS

FIRM is part of the Productive Sector Operational Programme of the National Development Plan 2000-2006. The measure is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Food. FIRM finances public good research by qualified research institutions. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis and projects involving collaboration between institutions are encouraged in order to build up centres of excellence. The research results are disseminated through the RELAY project (website: www.relayresearch.ie) to food companies and institutions throughout Ireland. The RELAY publication "Supporting Food Innovation", highlighting research carried out under FIRM in the period 2001-2004, can be downloaded on the Department's website at the following link:

http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/pressrel/2005/116-2005_supportfoodinnovation-final.pdf (pdf 1,881Kb)  

Date Released: 08 February 2006