IPM Potato Group Ltd is a major player in the development of new and improved potato varieties and markets seed potatoes of Irish, Scottish, Dutch and French origin in over 40 countries. Teagasc and IPM have been collaborating on research projects since the early 1970s when they formed an initial partnership to breed varieties of potatoes initially for the domestic market and now for a diverse range of global markets.
Given the long lead times in developing new potato breeds (it takes 12 years to produce a new potato variety due to rigorous testing for consumer quality, market suitability, disease resistance and adaptation to different agro-ecologies) a close, long-term partnership was required. This long-term strategy has enabled clear goals to be set and resources put in place between the parties. As part of the collaboration thousands of seedlings are tested with one or two varieties usually being released each year for different market segments such as fresh consumption, processing and export. To date, 45 varieties have been released under the project with over 29 of these still being marketed commercially or under early development.
Since the project began Teagasc has provided the company with technology transfer support throughout having helped with the protection of intellectual property of new varieties of potatoes, leading to licensing of the new varieties that enable the collection of royalties to support further research and breeding efforts and ensuring robust collaboration agreements are in place.
Speaking of the relationship, Sean Mulvany Head of Technology Transfer at Teagasc said: “The enduring relationship between Teagasc and IPM is a real example of successful knowledge transfer. We are very pleased to have been able to support the project and to play a part in making sure Teagasc’s excellent research relationship continues with IPM into the future. We look forward to offering continued support in this regard.”
This duration and apparent strength of the relationship between Teagasc and IPM shows just how beneficial, productive and impactful a well-structured and well-supported collaborative research project can be, the repeat engagements that can come about and the very real, tangible outcomes that can result.
Publish date: 2018