Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, has announced a second term of funding for Food for Health Ireland (FHI) as part of the €100m joint Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland Technology Centres programme.
The €21m investment will come through the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, as well as companies involved in the functional foods research centre: Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, the Kerry Group and the Irish Dairy Board.
FHI ‘mines’ milk to identify novel bio-active ingredients to develop functional foods which will offer health benefits to consumers. Through this funding, the multi-location centre plans to increase its focus on infant nutrition, healthy cheese, sports drinks, healthy ageing drinks and products that can be used to manage type 2 diabetes and obesity.
“The first five-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 to 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 to 65-year-olds that are either overweight but healthy, or have type 2 non-insulin-dependent diabetes,” said Jens Bleiel, CEO of FHI.
Research for FHI is conducted by teams at University College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Limerick, Teagasc, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth and Dublin City University. The latest investment will create 73 jobs at FHI.
Technology Centres offer competitive advantage
“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,” said Bruton, who revealed details of the investment at the first Technology Centres Expo in Leopardstown, Dublin.
FHI is just one of 15 industry-led research centres of excellence in the Technology Centre Programme in which research ranges from cloud and analytics to financial services, energy, food and health.
“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,” said Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.
Milk image by Efired via Shutterstock