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Queen’s University Belfast Launches New £33 Million Global ‘Food-Fortress’

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Queen’s University Belfast Launches New £33 Million Global ‘Food-Fortress’

Queen’s University Belfast Launches New £33 Million Global ‘Food-Fortress’
March 19
10:30 2013

Queen’s University has launched its new Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) which will improve global food safety through the establishment of an international ‘food-fortress’ in Belfast. An investment of over £33 million from Queen’s will see the Institute play a key role in national and global efforts to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable, safe and secure supply of high quality food.

Staff in the new Institute will work alongside the food sector locally, and worldwide, to improve the integrity of the food chain and deliver best value and quality to the consumer. The opening of the IGFS will also enable Queen’s to enhance the role it already plays in ensuring the local agri-food industry continues to be competitive in a growing global market.

The IGFS incorporates a new £2.5 million laboratory. Housing state-of-the-art equipment provided by Waters Corporation, the multinational technology company, it is capable of undertaking unique forms of testing in order to provide early warning of food contamination and adulteration. With part finance from the European Regional Development Fund, Invest NI is supporting the laboratory instrumentation and some of the research activities within it. Indeed, the new Institute is one of only five worldwide to be granted the status of a ‘Waters Centre of Innovation’.

The IGFS was officially launched by Tesco chief executive, Philip Clarke. Tesco is the largest customer for food producers on the island of Ireland buying £1 billion of foodstuffs each year. 

Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the new Institute, comments: “We want to build a ‘food-fortress’, ensuring everything we import is of the highest quality and that what we sell locally and internationally is also 100 per cent safe, nutritious and authentic. This new Institute will ensure that we can continue to recruit the best students into our food programmes, creating the food-leaders of the future who have been trained in one of the world’s best equipped research laboratories.”

The Institute is a cornerstone of Queen’s ambitious new Beyond fundraising campaign to raise £140 million over the next five years to support transformational projects. The Institute hopes to engage the support of leading local and international food producers.

Currently the production and processing of food plays a critical role in the Northern Ireland economy, with the sector providing 85,000 jobs and generating sales of £5.2 billion each year.

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