Ireland and the Netherlands have pledged to co-operate more closely on research into functional foods in a bid to maximize the two countries' R&D potential.
Late last month, the Dutch ambassador to Ireland, Robert Engels, paid an official visit to Teagasc, the Cork-based food research center funded by the Irish government.
Head of food research at Teagasc, Paul Ross, declared afterwards that "tremendous potential" existed for greater collaboration between the two countries in the areas of research into food and health, functional foods and dairy technology.
"We are already working with many Dutch institutes, companies and universities and this initiative would copper fasten these interactions in a way that should lead to significant economic development on both sides," he said.
Teagasc Director Gerry Boyle added: "The benefits of enhancing co-operation are many. The food innovation landscapes in Ireland and the Netherlands are very comparable. In both economies the food industry plays a central role.
"The Irish and Dutch governments and businesses are committed to expanding the sector by investing in food innovation. In some areas, Ireland and the Netherlands will be primarily competitors, but that said, businesses in both countries have a lot to gain from enhancing their co-operation."
Co-operation between the two countries would represent a “win-win situation”, said Dutch Ambassador Engels, who added: "Good contacts exist between researchers from both countries."