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Dr Anne Marie Henihan

Centre Director, Dairy Processing Technology Centre

An industry–academic collaborative research centre and its partners are driven by an agenda to explore long-term growth opportunities in the Irish dairy sector through technology.

The Dairy Processing Technology Centre (DPTC) is driving growth, resilience and sustainability in Irish dairy processing through technological innovations.

A ‘safe space’ for applied research in Irish dairy 

The Centre’s Director, Dr Anne Marie Henihan, explains: “We provide independent, evidence-based solutions by harnessing the collective power of our network. Our research has an impact; we deliver applied innovative solutions for industry.” 

DPTC works on common sectoral challenges, demonstrating the sector’s commitment to decarbonisation. Through collaboration with dairy companies and the academic sector, they aim to enable a net zero future for dairy processing.

Short and long-term sustainability targets 

The core research programme and their Sustainability Innovation Forum unite experts from the sustainability arena to examine cross-sectoral technologies and processes to disrupt the dairy industry. 

The programme aims to place the dairy processing industry at the heart of a regenerative circular economy, promoting economic growth, but with less environmental impact: “We are actively supporting the industry to develop and adopt robust strategies and technologies to improve environmental and economic performance,” says Prof Vincent O’Flaherty, Lead Investigator on sustainable processing.

Milk and dairy products are nutrient-dense but very complex, with big changes in composition throughout the year.

Adaptive processing and expanding membership 

DPTC have core expertise in adaptive processing for the dairy industry, which is vital to maximising production while increasing efficiencies.

Dr Diarmuid Sheehan, Lead Investigator on adaptive processing, gives an example: “Milk and dairy products are nutrient-dense but very complex, with big changes in composition throughout the year. Our research gives a better understanding of this variability across the lactation cycle — and we can use this knowledge to recommend adaptive process strategies, extending our partners’ seasonal production windows.” 

The Centre often looks outwards to achieve its goals. Henihan explains: “Our researchers bring our innovations and technologies to a certain ‘technology readiness’ level, de-risking investments for our partners. Our associate members are instrumental in bringing us to the next stage — helping to translate and implement these technologies for our core industry partners.” 

She concludes: “Our key differentiator is that we bring together the key players across the sector. We want to continue expanding our membership to include more experts, more technologists and more equipment providers. Through our research programme, we are also nurturing the next generation of research talent, ensuring that Ireland will continue to lead the way in dairy processing sustainability.” 

DPTC is an industry–academic collaborative research centre, hosted by the University of Limerick. The centre is funded by Enterprise Ireland and the Dairy Industry Partners. 

Email: [email protected]

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