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Dr Gaurav Rajauria receives SFI funding for SC Protein Project

11 Sep 2023
Dr Gaurav Rajauria School of Microbiology and SUSFERM

School of Microbiology and SUSFERM researcher at UCC leads the way in sustainability in agri-food sector.

The development of a sustainable waste-to-protein biorefinery system is among the UCC projects that have received funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) National Challenge Fund.

The SC-Protein project is a sustainable climate-proof waste-to-protein system for developing feed-grade protein solutions. SC-Protein will transform locally available agrifood industry waste streams into cost-effective alternative growth substrates which in turn will generate sufficient feed-grade proteins for animal feed without using arable land and water. Led by Dr Gaurav Rajauria in the SUSFERM Fermentation Centre and the Schools of Microbiology and Food and Nutritional Sciences, and in collaboration with Teagasc and societal champion Trouw Nutrition Ireland, the comprehensive knowledge base generated from this project will underpin the adoption of single cell proteins by stakeholders throughout the Irish agri-food sector.

"We want to develop a system that turns food waste into protein for animal feed, which in turn will reduce waste footprints and free up arable land and water to grow food for human consumption", stated Dr Gaurav Rajauria.

Funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, the National Challenge Fund calls on researchers to identify problems related to Ireland’s Green Transition and Digital Transformation and work with those directly affected to solve them. The final two Challenges – the Sustainable Communities Challenge and the Future Food Systems Challenge have now begun, with 25 teams joining more than 70 competing for prize awards of €1 million or €2 million in continued funding. The Challenges are structured so that professional researchers must engage directly with the potential beneficiaries of their inventions and solutions to make sure they are responding to their communities’ needs.

Professor John F. Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation said: "Congratulations to the UCC research teams on their National Challenge Fund awards. These projects will improve the health of middle-aged and older people and reduce waste in the agri-food sector. The interdisciplinary team approach to solving major environmental and societal issues aligns with our UCC Futures initiative to secure a better future for all."

School of Microbiology

Scoil na Micribhitheolaíochta

Microbiology Office, Room FSB452, 4th Floor Food Science & Technology Building, University College Cork, Cork T12 Y337