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APC Microbiome Ireland celebrates 20 years of scientific excellence and impact

15 Dec 2023

An Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D. launched a 20 Years Impact brochure for APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) a world leading SFI Research Centre based in University College Cork and Teagasc at a celebration event to mark the 20th anniversary of APC.

 

 

Launched in 2003 at UCC, APC was one of the very first microbiome research institutes worldwide and is now one of the largest globally, and has developed into a world-renowned research and scientific leader in the field.  

The growing economic impact of APC Microbiome Ireland is now calculated at €73.7m annually, up from €65m five years ago. The research centre supports more than 500 jobs in Ireland each year and returns €6.56 to the Irish Economy for every €1 invested.  

APC carries out pioneering microbiome research and has produced more than 3000 peer-reviewed scientific publications which has led to advancements in tackling some of the most pressing societal challenges of our time including antimicrobial resistance and the threat of superbugs, the burden of chronic diseases, obesity and malnutrition, mental health, and healthy ageing. 

  

The Institute has been particularly successful in collaborating with industry to develop science-based probiotics and other products. With more than €72 million in research funding secured from Industry, APC has attracted foreign direct investment from 11 companies that only have a footprint in Ireland because of APC. The institute has also spun out five companies that now employ 100 people in Cork and its founding SME partner, Cork-based PrecisionBiotics Ltd was acquired by Danish giant Novozymes in 2020.

 

APC also commissioned the first national survey to establish the level of microbiome awareness in the country. The survey found that over one in three respondents are aware of the term ‘microbiome’, with a higher awareness (over 50%) in the 20-29yrs cohort. However, over half of all respondents were familiar with having a gut flora while 85% of respondents are aware of the term probiotics. Encouragingly, about half of respondents stated they were taking steps to keep their microbiome or gut flora healthy.

Almost two thirds of respondents believe that microbiome plays a role in medicine while only 38% believe there is a connection Environmental Sustainability. An encouraging 66% of respondents felt it was important invest in science and research into microbiomes.

 An Tánaiste, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D. commented, ““I want to acknowledge the significant impact APC Microbiome Ireland has had over the past 20 years, as a world-renowned leader in microbiome research, and for its support of hundreds of skilled jobs in the Irish economy.

It has fuelled advances in tackling some of the greatest challenges facing society, including antimicrobial resistance, climate change and chronic diseases, as well as progressing the government’s strategic objectives in Impact2030, the national strategy for science, technology and innovation.”

APC Microbiome Ireland Director Prof Paul Ross says “Over 20 years we are proud to have grown APC Microbiome Ireland into the largest microbiome research centre in the world. We are known for our scientific excellence and the caliber of our researchers both sets us apart and attracts global stars to work here with us in Ireland. Our Principal Investigators have received no less than 164 significant distinctions and awards, and we have 13 researchers featured on the 2023 Clarivate’s Highly Cited Researcher list.” 

UCC President, Professor John O’Halloran states “APC is one of our flagship research institutes at UCC. For two decades now APC has been pioneering insight into our collective understanding of the microbiome. APC now sits as a leader in a global field and that is testament to this community of research excellence that has been built here over the past 20 years.”

Teagasc Director Prof Frank O’Mara says “APC has produced great impacts in the last 20 years and is making an impact on several fronts, particularly in the foods for health sector. But the potential for microbiome science to mitigate climate change and address the sustainability agenda may be the most important one. This is evident in the exciting work ongoing in Teagasc where APC scientists have shown that animal feed supplemented by probiotics can reduce methane emissions from ruminants.”

Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Prof. Philip Nolan, comments: “APC is an international leader in microbiome research. In the last ten years, its reputation for scientific excellence has attracted staff and students from 59 countries around the world. APC collaborates with industry partners and scientific peers the world over to mobilise the microbiome science for the good of society. We are pleased to support APC through our SFI Research Centres programme, and to mark this important milestone.”   

Chair of APC Governance Board and CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Dr Pamela Byrne says “The APC INSPIRE programme has created 20 research fellowships to focus on the microbiome and Sustainable Development Goals, tackling global societal challenges related to antimicrobial resistance, sustainable food systems, and the burden of chronic disease. The research talent in APC is impressive with six ERC grants secured in the last five years, €100 million competitive grants from Science Foundation Ireland won and an additional €202 million in research funding sourced from other sources. APC is a huge asset to Ireland’s knowledge economy.”

For more on this story contact:

 

Media Contacts

Tina Darb             APC Microbiome Ireland    087 7826500        tdarb@ucc.ie

 

Host Institution

Host Logos - UCC and Teagasc

Partner Institutions

APC Microbiome Ireland

Biosciences Building, University College Cork, Ireland,

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