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New Agri-Food Competence Centre For Northern Ireland

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New Agri-Food Competence Centre For Northern Ireland

New Agri-Food Competence Centre For Northern Ireland
May 19
09:45 2015

Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has announced the establishment of a £6.7 million Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre (AFQCC). Hosted at Queen’s University, Belfast, the new Competence Centre will draw upon the research capabilities of Ulster University (UU), Queen’s University, Belfast and the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). The centre’s primary focus will be on improving the international competitive position of the Northern Ireland Agri-food sector through innovation and co-operative research.

Financing for the centre is made up of £5 million of research and development assistance from Invest NI and a £1.7 million investment from industry partners.

Jonathan Bell says: “The Northern Ireland Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre is the fourth in an initial series of Competence Centres being funded by Invest NI and industry partners, which are designed to rapidly transform great research into commercial success. The Agri-food Sector ‘Going for Growth’ strategy sets out a vision for the agri-food industry and recognises that investment in research and development is a crucial component in the development of innovative products and in targeting export markets. This Competence Centre is vital to the success of that strategy.”

The new centre will provide a platform for companies which want to pursue research projects in areas such as packaging, shelf-life, waste minimisation and food security.

He adds: “I would encourage companies operating in the Agri-food sector to explore how this centre could benefit their business.”

“This development will improve the competitiveness of Northern Ireland’s biggest Industry,” says Prof Elliott of QUB. “The establishment of this industry-academia research partnership is essential to help local companies keep up with the fierce competition they face on the world’s global markets. The Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University is very proud to host this centre and will work alongside our industry partners to drive innovation across the Agri-food sectors.’

CAPTION:

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell pictured with Prof Chris Elliot, Queen’s University Belfast; Michael Bell, NIFDA; and Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI.

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