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Posted 15 December 2008

New scientific research institute at UCD to inform the food production industry and public health policy - Minister Trevor Sargent TD announces new UCD Institute of Food and Health

A new Institute of Food and Health at University College Dublin announced by Minister Trevor Sargent TD today (10 December 2008) will unite 27 leading scientists, 55 postdoctoral fellows and 150 postgraduate students towards the better scientific understanding of the relationship between food and health.

“With the dramatic rise of obesity in the Irish and EU populations, the latest Dioxin food scare in Irish pork, and the advent of personalised nutrition (based on people’s genetic make-up) to tackle health conditions and the opportunity to develop functional foods to improve public health, this area of scientific enquiry and understanding has never been so crucial to the future health and welfare of our nation,” said Professor Mike Gibney, Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health.

UCD identified food and health as a pivotal area for research development and set out to bring together scientists and experts from the fields of agricultural production and veterinary medicine, food development and biosystems, nutrition, food safety, public health,  consumer behaviour, economics and food regulation.  With competitively-achieved funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Enterprise Ireland, SFI, PRTLI and other public and private funders, food and health research income at UCD has grown from €3.4 million in 2001 to over €25 million in 2008 and accounts for almost 20% of research income at the university.

Scientific research findings by the new UCD Institute of Food and Health will inform Irish Government policy and EU policy, and also help to promote public awareness of food and health issues.

The new institute is headed up by Professor Mike Gibney, a world leading scientific expert in food and health research.   Research project leaders at the Institute include: Professor Pat Wall (Associate Professor of Public Health), Professor Cecily Kelleher (Professor of Public Health Medicine and Epidemiology), Professor Colin Scott (Professor of EU Regulation and Governance), and Professor John O’Doherty (Associate Professor of Animal Nutrition).

“One of the unique strengths of the new institute is its capacity to move scientific research from primary agricultural production, through to food science and engineering, from veterinary public health to food safety and nutrition, right through to food regulation and consumer research,” said Professor Mike Gibney, Director of the UCD Institute of Food and Health.

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