Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has confirmed a new partnership agreement with one of Europe’s leading food processors, ABP Food Group (ABP). The agreement which will run for 3 years will include the development of a new DkIT talent upskilling pathway and increased research collaboration across the science, engineering and business disciplines.
Building on their existing long-standing relationship, the new multi-annual partnership between ABP and DkIT will focus on collaboration through academic programme development, joint-research initiatives, and cooperative marketing and sponsorship opportunities. The partnership will also explore the feasibility of developing a new public-private venture to create a dedicated meat industry R&D facility at DkIT.
The agreement was announced today at the DkIT Industry Showcase which was inaugurated by Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and was attended by Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Enterprise Ireland.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Humphreys welcomed the new partnership, adding:“I am delighted to launch this partnership between Dundalk Institute of Technology and ABP Food Group. The agri-food sector is a cornerstone of the Irish economy and innovation is crucial to ensuring that it continues to thrive. Partnerships between Higher Education and industry create valuable opportunities for economic growth in our regions, bringing new opportunities for our graduates and skilled professionals who wish to live and work locally. They also provide an important flow of knowledge and access to leading edge technology to businesses, enabling them to remain competitive in today’s fast-evolving global market.”
Julie Sinnamon, CEO at Enterprise Ireland added,“The continuous development of relevant skills capable of meeting the evolving needs of industry is vital. DkIT has a significant role to play in partnership with Enterprise Ireland in ensuring the success of industry in the North East region by helping companies develop their R&D and capabilities through access to new technologies, innovations and skills. Today’s partnership announcement with ABP Food Group is welcome news and I encourage all local and regional businesses to engage with DkIT to investigate how third level research can help drive their own innovation agenda and achieve their global ambition.”
Also speaking at the launch, DkIT President, Michael Mulvey PhD commented,“We are proud to embark on an exciting new partnership with ABP Food Group. As one of the leading Irish multinationals operating in our region, ABP already employs many of our graduates and also shares our ethos of practice-based education and the many pathways to graduation we offer, from Apprenticeship to PhD. Having enjoyed a strong relationship with the company for many years, we are now pleased to take this to a new level with renewed strategic focus. We are confident that this framework for partnership will generate new growth opportunities for both organisations and will help us further develop skills, innovation and expertise in the agri-food sector which is vital for our region.”
Martin Kane, Managing Director for ABP Ireland and Poland also said,“ABP has had a long and proud association with DKIT and we have worked together on many projects through the years. Today’s announcement will take that partnership to the next level and will allow us to develop a range of unique and bespoke courses (modules) for students who want to pursue a career in ABP and the wider agri. food sector. It will help us to futureproof the relevant skills sets that are required for an evolving dynamic international environment. We see this as a multi-disciplinary partnership which will involve many of DKIT’s departments including agriculture, food science, marketing, business, engineering and IT. Of equal importance, the agreement will also include support and collaboration on exciting research and innovation projects.”
The DkIT Industry Showcase which took place today was organised by the Regional Development Centre and the Research Office at DkIT and involved participation from more than 100 industry from across the North Leinster South Ulster region. The event included a variety of presentations and workshops from leaders from across industry and academia who demonstrated how engagement has worked in practice and outline how businesses can avail of supports for investment in Research & Innovation. Speakers included Anita Finnegan, CEO at DkIT Spin-out, Nova Leah, Martin Kane, Managing Director and Stuart Murphy, HR Manager of ABP Ireland and Poland, and who jointly led a panel discussion about the importance of industry engagement with Higher Education Institutions.
Minister Humphreys delivered a welcome address at the Showcase and took time to meet with researchers from DkIT’s Research Centres and Research Groups who exhibited at the Showcase. Impressed by the energy and the ideas she encountered, the Minister commented,“Today’s showcase demonstrates the huge potential in higher education institutions in Ireland to convert publicly-funded research into ground-breaking technologies and spin-out companies. DkIT has an excellent track record in this regard and from speaking with the researchers I have met here today I feel confident that this will continue.”