Food Research & Innovation

World-leading talent, facilities, resources and collaboration

A dedicated partner for agri-food innovation

Teagasc, an internationally recognised centre of excellence, is Ireland’s leading agency for agri-food innovation. Its food programme spans the entire chain from farm production to food processing and innovation. Teagasc focuses on food research of relevance to industry. The agency also works with individual food companies  through collaborative and contract research as well as technology transfer. In addition, it provides the food industry with access to specialised laboratory equipment and unique pilot-plant scale food processing facilities.

Food innovation is a national priority

Two major food topics Sustainable Food Production and Processing and Food for Health have been identified as research priorities for Ireland.   As a result of the Government’s 2013 Research Prioritisation Exercise, public investment  will be targeted towards these priority areas to ensure Ireland remains a top-tier location for knowledge and innovation. Moreover, these topics will set the agenda for technologies, capabilities and intellectual property emerging from Irish research institutions in the years to come, building on the research strengths of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technologies in  process technology, health and nutrition, quality and safety across the food spectrum from dairy, meats and beverages to prepared consumer foods.

Access to  world-leading science, scientists and infrastructure

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI),  Ireland’s largest research funding body, supports outstanding research  to support industry. The SFI-funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) is recognised as a world leader in research related to health-promoting bacteria and food constituents for incorporation into functional foods; gut microbiota and health status; novel bioactives to treat intestinal and infectious diseases and the role of alimentary pharmabiotics in disease prevention, improved cognition and healthy ageing.

A unique ecosystem for collaborative food innovation

Ireland’s  Technology Centres provide a framework for unique innovation ecosystems  that have seen small and start-up companies work hand-in-hand with the Irish bases of some of the most powerful multinationals on the planet  and research teams in Ireland’s higher education institutes  on research topics of mutual interest, identified by industry. Technology Centres of importance to the food industry include  Food for Health Ireland, the Dairy Processing Technology Centre, the  Innovation for Ireland’s Energy Efficiency (I2E2) Research Centre and the Irish Centre for Manufacturing Research. In addition, work is under way to establish a collaborative initiative to increase value from meat processing streams.  New companies can join a Technology Centre at any time. Collaborations with industry receive co-funding through Enterprise Ireland.

By locating in Ireland, your business will benefit from a range of financial incentives to support your research and innovation programme.

R&D Tax Credit

Ireland is where some of the world’s biggest and best companies have chosen to locate key, strategic research facilities. A generous 25% tax credit on qualifying research and development expenditure is available for companies, large and small, that have a tax residency in Ireland and that are undertaking qualifying R&D activities in Ireland or within the European Economic Area. Qualifying R&D expenditure will generate a 25% tax credit for offset against corporate taxes in addition to a tax deduction at 12.5%.  So, effectively, the R&D tax credit reduces the real cost of R&D by up to 37.5%.

Co-funding of innovation collaborations

Our Innovation PartnershipProgramme provides financial support to help companies access the expertise and resources of Ireland’s higher education institutions in developing new and improved products, processes and services. While the company defines the scope of the project and owns the resulting intellectual property, the college conducting the research, with grant support of up to €200,000*. All manufacturing and internationally-traded services companies with an operating base in Ireland can benefit from this support.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation support programme ever, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). Having a location in Ireland has enabled organisations like  Intel, HP and Georgia Tech, that are headquartered outside the EU, to participate in large-scale, potentially game-changing  EU Research and Innovation framework programmes.  A key theme for Horizon 2020 centres on ‘Food & Healthy Diet’. This encompasses activities  that promote informed consumer choices; deliver strategic solutions for healthy and safe foods and diets for all; and create opportunities for a sustainable and competitive agri-food industry, through innovation in food processing. Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and where relevant, the Marine Institute, provide advisers to help companies based in Ireland   win funding for food-related Horizon 2020 projects.