New €35m food systems research centre launched in UCD

29 May 2024

From left: Prof Aedín Cassidy, Prof Louise Dye, Dr Siobhán Roche and Prof Eileen Gibney. Image: Jason Clarke

The centre will host researchers from Ireland and Britain working with governments, policymakers and stakeholders in the wider food systems industry.

The Irish Government has welcomed the launch of a new €35m joint research centre on sustainable food systems based in University College Dublin (UCD).

The Co-Centre for Sustainable Food Systems will be jointly managed by UCD, Queen’s University Belfast and University of Sheffield.

The aim is to bring together world-class researchers from the islands of Ireland and Britain to conduct research on areas of common interest ranging from food safety, production and governance to nutrition, plant and animal science, and behavioural change.

Co-funded by the Government through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Shared Ireland Fund, the centre will host an interdisciplinary research team working with governments, policymakers and stakeholders in the food systems industry to deliver innovative solutions that can “drive societal and political change” in the transition to climate neutrality by 2050.

“You are each playing an integral role in creating what promises to be an impactful research relationship between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain over the next six years,” Minister Patrick O’Donovan, TD, told those involved with the centre today (29 May).

“There is an urgency to provide food system transformation, with local, national and international food solutions that are underpinned by science, safety and governance. This Co-Centre will lead the charge in collaboratively generating those solutions.”

Part of a six-year investment, the centre is also funded by UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.

“This Co-Centre will play an important role in transforming our food system to be more healthy and sustainable across these islands,” said Prof Eileen Gibney, co-director of the Co-Centre and director of UCD Institute of Food and Health.

“[It] will drive change in the way we produce and consume food, addressing economic, social, and environmental problems to ensure safe nutritious food for all. We need to consider the challenges we face now and, in the future, and provide solutions that will work for us all.”

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic