The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, today announced funding for a new initiative that will take a food-systems approach to enhancing the sustainability of protein production across the island of Ireland. Led by the UCD Institute of Food and Health’s Prof Lorraine Brennan and Prof Fiona Doohan, the Protein-I project will focus on plant production through to human health, while paying particular attention to the development of Ireland’s rural bio-economy.
The five-year project will see the co-design of consumer-led approaches to diversify plant protein intake, model the
impact among the population, and perform human interventions to demonstrate efficacy in terms of achieving adequate nutrition and improved health. It will also test emerging sensor technologies for their potential to aid delivery of personalised nutrition.
Other aims of the initiative include establishing a smart supply-chain-technology solution tailored to the needs of the agri-food industry, gathering an evidence base for future policies throughout the food system, and engaging the general public to ensure safe uptake of sustainable diets supporting the use of locally grown plant products.
Protein-I will bring together six research organisations – UCD, Teagasc, NUI Galway, UCC, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast – and 17 principal investigators. At UCD, it will involve researchers from the School of Biology and Environmental Science, School of Agriculture and Food Science, and the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science. As well as Prof Brennan and Prof Doohan, this includes Dr Breige McNulty, Dr Martina Wallace, Prof Helen Roche and Dr Angela Feechan.
Protein-I is to receive €2.2m from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and €900,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. UCD is to be awarded €1.2m.
Media queries: Prof Lorraine Brennan (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0864082996) and Prof Fiona Doohan (email@example.com, 0860601474) are available for interview/comment.