Innovation needed from research institute to farmyard - McIlveen

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Given the challenges facing the agriculture industry, the importance of research and innovation have never been greater, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen today told a special event to mark the tenth anniversary of the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI).

Speaking at the Open Meeting at AFBI Hillsborough, Minister McIlveen said: “Much has changed over the last ten years but one constant has been the importance of innovation, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and delivering improved outcomes.

“This has been AFBI’s core purpose since its inception, to provide the research based evidence that is vital for good policy making and for driving the technological advances that will underpin the future competitiveness of our agri-food industry.”

The Minister said the theme of today’s event, ‘AFBI – Making a Difference’, chimed precisely with the ambitions of the new Programme for Government.

“We need to continue to invest in the generation of new ideas and ensure that there is an uninterrupted flow of knowledge and innovation from the research institute to the farmyard.

“I’m immensely excited about the potential that exists within AFBI to build an ever greater presence and reputation within national, European and global science communities. A successful AFBI will bring immeasurable benefits to our local agri-food industry and underpin its sustainable development,” Minister McIlveen added.

She concluded by recognising the service made to AFBI by Professor Seamus Kennedy who retired as Chief Executive yesterday adding: “I want to thank Seamus for his sterling efforts in guiding AFBI to this point and wish him well in his retirement. I welcome Professor Elaine Watson to her new role as AFBI CEO and very much look forward to working with Elaine as she leads AFBI forward into its second decade and towards even greater success.”