Irish companies, Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) and Technology From Ideas Ltd, (TfI) have recently been awarded funding under the Marine Institute's Industry-led Award scheme. The companies will use the funding to support innovative R&D designed to develop new products and services with strong commercialisation potential in the functional foods and aquaculture sectors.
Through its Industry-led Awards scheme, the Marine Institute is seeking to support marine SMEs to conduct research and to build their R&D capabilities. "SMEs are the backbone of our maritime economy," says Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.
"These Industry-led awards enable companies to build their R&D capacity and to innovate, creating new business opportunities and jobs." Dr. Heffernan highlights the ambitious targets set out in Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, Ireland's Integrated Maritime Policy, and the importance of private sector R&D.
With this grant aid, Monaghan-based Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) will conduct research with the goal of developing a new health supplement based on blue whiting fish protein. The company, working with partners in the University of Limerick and Dublin City University, has recognised the potential of functional food products derived from blue whiting which could yield enormous benefits for skeletal health, particularly in older people.
A successful outcome to this work could see the introduction of a new Irish health ingredient into a global market worth $12.4 billion. In developing value added products from fish biomass, the project can also enhance sustainability in the fisheries sector.
According to Dr Snehal Gite, Senior R&D technologist with BII, "Muscle health and mobility are key to healthy aging. With this support from the Marine Institute, and working with our research partners in Dublin City University and University of Limerick, we will undertake human intervention trials in 2019. We are really excited at the prospect of unlocking further value from our underutilised marine resources".
BII is a joint venture between Irish fishing vessel owners and Norwegian partners who are experts in marine ingredients. Experienced in producing the highest quality marine ingredients, BII and their project partners will receive €200,000 in funding over 18 months through the Marine Institute award to further their research on the new health supplement.
Dublin-based company, Technology From Ideas Ltd (TfI), has been awarded €199,960 in funding from the Marine Institute to trial a new mooring system for fish cages capable of withstanding more extreme conditions offshore. Aquaculture is a key growth sector in the blue economy contributing to job creation and food supply. For the industry to develop and grow in a sustainable manner, fish farms will need to move further offshore, which brings with it the challenge of increased loads on the farming cages and the related mooring systems. Having identified a suitable fish farm in the West of Ireland, Tfi Marine will work to firstly analyse the loads, monitor the impact of the loads on the mooring system, and validate various polymer mooring solutions.
Addressing the engineering challenges will be crucial to enable aquaculture companies to move their operations offshore, allowing increased production and business growth. "New mooring and anchorage solutions for fish farms are essential to expansion into offshore locations'" says Noel Halloran, CEO, TfI. "We have developed and trialled such components in the wave and tidal sector with loads reduced by approximately 70 percent".
Increased economic growth and job creation from SMEs based in Ireland is a goal of several national strategies and regional development plans. A key output of the Marine Institute's Strategy, Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services, is support to Ireland's ocean economy, and building marine research & innovation capacity in both the public and private sectors. The Institute's Industry led awards scheme is also an important initiative under Ireland's Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017 - 2021.
Funding for these two research projects is provided by the Marine Institute and the Irish Government, co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Notes to Editor
Lead Organisation (Company)
Total Project Funding Awarded
Main Research Theme (National Marine R&I Strategy)
Development of marine functional food to support muscle health and healthy aging in older adults
Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland Ltd
Dublin City University & University of Limerick
Bioresources: Processing for Food & Other Use
Technology From Ideas Ltd
The Marine Institute's Strategic Plan 2018-2022, Building Ocean Knowledge - Delivering Ocean Services, was developed to ensure the provision of fit-for purpose research, advice and services for the department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, other government departments and agencies; as well as a broad range of national and international stakeholders.
Published in 2012, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth sets out the Government's Vision, High-Level Goals, and Key 'Enabling' Actions to put in place the appropriate policy, governance and business climate to enable our marine potential to be realised.
Published in 2017, the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2021 focuses on the broad topics identified in existing Government policies and strategies and provides a framework that recognises the complexity of research funding in the marine domain.