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Minister Coughlan announces details of Food and Health Research Initiative

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced details of a new research initiative in the area of Food and Health, being promoted by her Department in collaboration with the Department of Health and Children and the Health Research Board (HRB).

The aim of the initiative is to develop existing expertise in the areas of food and health sciences and to optimise research capacity and capabilities in the areas of food and health. The initiative, which will run for 5 years, meets the objectives and vision set out in both the "Agri-Vision 2015 Plan of Action" and the "Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) 2006-2013.

"These key policy documents have brought investment in Research and Development to the forefront and place considerable emphasis on building a competitive, innovative and consumer focussed agri-food sector. This initiative, which is supported by funds provided under the SSTI for linked public sector research, the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) and the HRB, will enable a collaborative approach to food for health research between a team of food and health scientists in Ireland and will provide industry with the scientific knowledge to underpin the development of healthy foods",
the Minister said.

Proposals are invited in the following four theme areas:

1. Nutritional health in the elderly

2. Nutrigenomics

3. Development of new and existing food consumption databases

4. Food Safety - monitoring and surveillance

Minister Coughlan added that applications are invited from all suitable Irish Institutions that can demonstrate the necessary research capabilities in the areas of the food and health sciences including Universities, Institutes of Technology and Teagasc. Research Institutes in Northern Ireland collaborating with a lead southern-based Institute will be considered for funding.

Details of the application process will appear in the national press on Thursday 14th of June. Application forms and Guidelines for applicants will be available on the Department's website and Health Research Initative from that date.

The closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday, August 1st 2007

13 June, 2007

Date Released: 13 June 2007