On Friday, 16 July 2021, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to TU Dublin Grangegorman to highlight the NextGenerationEU recovery package and Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
President of TU Dublin Professor David FitzPatrick and Director of Campus Planning Dr Paul Horan welcomed the Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and President Ursula von der Leyen to Grangegorman, providing a brief overview of the Grangegorman development as well explaining the site's unique history.
On arrival to the Central Quad, President Ursula von der Leyen was greeted by EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Thomas Byrne, Minister of State for European Affairs.
Donning TU Dublin labcoat, Professor Mary Hund, Head of the School of Biological Sciences and Health, invited the delegation to meet with TU Dublin researchers Dr Catherine Barry-Ryan from the School of Food Science & Environmental Health and colleague Dr Lubna Ahmed from ESHI, who spoke about two EU funded projects, AleHoop and Up4Heallth. Two ESHI PhD students Hitika Shah and Maame Manful also gave a quick demonstration.
- ALEHOOP - Current protein sources are becoming unsustainable from an economic and environmental perspective. Moreover, demand for alternative low-cost substitutes is increasing in the food and agricultural sectors. ALEHOOP aims to address these challenges by extracting low-cost dietary proteins from algae-based and plant residual biomass. This is done using macroalgae and legume-based bio-refineries. The resulting proteins could be used in human food, including healthy snack bars, sports drinks and meat substitutes, and animal feed for chickens, pigs and fish.
- Up4Health is a €4m SME-led project focusing on the circular economy. Up4Health aims to deliver a sustainable and cost-effective production process to extract and upcycle valuable ingredients from olive, grape and nut by-products. These ingredients will be integrated into functional foods, nutraceutical supplements and cosmetics, among others.
Dr Niamh Gilmartin and Dr Steve Meaney of the School of Biological & Health Sciences and ESHI at TU Dublin also spoke to the delegation about AptaGold, which will provide an innovative saliva-based, instrument-free approach for detecting COVID-19. The test will be cost-effective and readily scalable and could facilitate the re-opening of society.
Finally, Professor FitzPatrick introduced the visiting contingent to Sean Smith and Tara McElligott, two founders of Micron Agritech - a TU Dublin Hothouse spin-out set to revolutionise animal health testing. Micron Agritech illustrates how digital technology can help tackle common animal health problems while decreasing the use of unnecessary medication and showcases the University's strong ethos of providing support to students to establish start-up companies.
The event concluded with a press conference in the Central Quad atrium, which was attended by international and national media.