The Irish Government has announced a new €35m investment in two innovation initiatives for the Irish dairy sector.
The two projects are an Enterprise Ireland-funded €25m Dairy Processing Technology Centre (DPTC), hosted by the University of Limerick. The second is a €10m investment by Teagasc and dairy industry shareholders in the expansion of the Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL) pilot plant facility in Fermoy, Co Cork.
The investment by the Irish Government and the Irish industry is designed to position Ireland as a world leader in dairy innovation. It will also greatly help to maximise the long term growth opportunities created by anticipated increase of 50pc in the Irish milk pool by 2020.
Of ten (10) major dairy companies involved, seven are investing in both initiatives: Arrabawn Co-op, Aurivo, Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry, and Tipperary Co-Op. Lakeland Dairies is part of the DPTC consortium only. The Irish Dairy Board and North Cork Co-op are investing in MTL.
University of Limerick will lead nine other research performing organisations (RPOs) – Teagasc, UCC, UCD, TCBB at NUIG, DCU, TCD, DIT, ITT and CIT – in the DPTC to deliver the research and technology required creating 52 new jobs for highly-skilled researchers over the five-year term of the centre.
“MTL now lists among its customers the most progressive companies in the food, food ingredients and nutritional sectors and it is obliged to meet the high expectation of these companies in all aspects of its services,” said Teagasc director, Gerry Boyle. “The €10m investment by its shareholders will future proof MTL and ensure its relevance to all its customers, national and international in the years ahead but most importantly will provide a platform to support the ambitions of the Irish dairy industry to produce value added foods and ingredients for international markets”.
Padraig McPhillips, CEO of the DPTC, said the centre is a collaborative model in which the best research talent in Ireland relevant to industry needs is brought together with the dairy sector to solve strategic research and innovation needs articulated by the sector. “The two key outputs of the DPTC will be knowledge and people – both will be absorbed by the industry and used to deliver more efficient processes and better products and ingredients,” he said. “The DPTC is like adding a new software engine to the dairy sector.”
“The Dairy Processing Technology Centre will be a critical agent in realising the opportunity presented by the abolition of the milk quotas by providing a dedicated public-private partnership investment in a world class dairy processing research and capability centre,” said Dan MacSweeney, chief executive of Carbery Group and chairman of the Irish Dairy Industries Association. “The Irish dairy industry recognises the importance of investing in sophisticated, collaborative research and innovation and this is reflected by the involvement of eight of our primary processors.”