£6 million of investment for innovative products to boost the local Agri-food sector


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Agri-food Quest is a new industry-led research centre supporting the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland.

It is jointly funded by Invest Northern Ireland (75%) and industry in-kind contributions (25%), with £6 million investment planned over the next five years.

It is based at Queen’s University Belfast and consists of research partners from Ulster University, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queens University. The aim is to help local agri-food companies develop high-quality products for export markets through market focused strategic R&D.

Membership is open to all agri-food businesses in Northern Ireland and to companies outside Northern Ireland that will contribute to the local economy. This gives the companies the opportunity to put forward collaborative research projects.

There currently is an open call for new projects, and food producers in Northern Ireland are invited to join as members and submit collaborative research proposals before 19th January 2016. Targeted areas of research include innovative packaging and processes, innovative products and concepts (including for health benefits), hygiene and shelf-life, bi-products and sustainability, and food safety/security.

Director of Agri-Food Quest, Stephane Durand said "Investment in research and development is a crucial component in the development of innovative products and in targeting export markets. This new centre, which allows the sector access to the collective knowledge and expertise available from Queen’s, Ulster University and AFBI, is vital to the success of that strategy. Not only will it support the development of our local food industry to compete strongly in export markets, it will also build on the agri-food knowledge and skills that already exist in Northern Ireland. I would encourage companies operating in the agri-food sector to explore how this centre could benefit their business."

Further detail, including how to join Agri-Food Quest and how to propose a research collaboration, is available on the newly launched Agri-Food Quest website.

For further information please contact Queen’s University Communications Officer Una Bradley on 028 9097 5384 or by email at u.bradley@qub.ac.uk, Monday to Thursday or 028 9097 5292, comms.office@qub.ac.uk on Fridays.

by Lisa Braniff, Invest NI