The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has launched the new VistaMilk SFI Research Centre which is jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and his Department.
VistaMilk aims to assist the Irish dairy industry to be a world leader in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying, with the outcomes impacting positively on the environment, animal well-being and the health of consumers.
The centre will be hosted by Teagasc Moorepark, in partnership with a number of research performing organisations.
“VistaMilk will be the largest Agri-Tech Centre covering the entire dairy production chain, with Exchequer funding of €26 million provided by SFI and my Department, together with industry funding of €14 million,” the Minister said, speaking at the launch of the Centre in Moorepark, Fermoy.
“This highlights the strong and collaborative commitment to building research and innovation capability that ensures the sustainability of the agri-food sector.”
The launch was also welcomed by the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, who said that agriculture and dairy production are “crucial to our economy”.
“Globally, these sectors are transforming rapidly, and it is crucial that Ireland occupies a leading position within them,” Halligan said.
“Alongside the other SFI Research Centres funded by the Irish Government, VistaMilk will help to improve our country’s competitive edge and excellent innovation, enabling us to continue to attract and retain new investment and deliver effective and wide-ranging research outcomes.”
Three Thematic Areas
Director of VistaMilk, Professor Donagh Berry, revealed that in order to advance the state-of-the-art in Agri-Food and information sciences, VistaMilk has divided the problem domain into three main thematic areas; Soil and Pasture; Cow, and Food.
“Combined, these three areas cover the entire supply chain from soil to society. Within each of these thematic areas, VistaMilk has several targeted projects each of which will leverage the combined expertise of the VistaMilk partners,” Berry added.
“Each targeted project involves at least one industry partner, who represent the sectors dealing with grass-seed breeding, animal and human nutrition, animal health, animal breeding, dairy-food processing, data analytics, sensor development, communications and networks, and –omics technologies”.
The VistaMilk public body research team, which is led by Professor Donagh Berry in Teagasc, Moorepark, consists of 7 Principal Investigators, 22 Funded Investigators and 43 academic collaborators. The Centre will also hire 32 post-doctoral contract researchers and train 58 postgraduate students over its 6-year lifespan.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.