Press Release – 9th March 2021

Cluster project announced to build an innovation ecosystem for circular bioeconomy in Kerry and Cork

Tralee, County Kerry – Munster Technological University has announced today the launch of a new cluster to accelerate momentum and support the growing circular bioeconomy in South-West Ireland, funded by Enterprise Ireland.

By 2030, it is expected that 1 million jobs in the bioeconomy will be created across Europe. This is an opportunity to put the South West region at the forefront of innovation, technology and talent development. With a focus on marine and waste-to-value themes, the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster will foster a network of stakeholder groups including small and medium enterprises, industry, educational institutes, government, and investors to develop a vision, strategy and action plan for the next two years. The initiative will also have an industry led steering committee to drive the mandate.

Recently appointed, Circular Bioeconomy Education & Outreach Manager, Catriona Power, is leading the project. A Kerry native, she brings a wealth of experience on cluster development, innovation strategy and programs to enable a low carbon sustainable economy. 

Brid Mc Elligott, Vice President Research, Development and External Engagement outlined “Munster Technological University is a leading expert and educator in the circular bioeconomy with several research and development projects undertaken by the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group, which are part of the Shannon ABC Research Centre. This work coupled, with the recent offering of the Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business in partnership with UCD, provides an excellent platform on which to launch this Enterprise Ireland funded cluster.”

“The establishment of this new Clusters is very timely development for the South West which has a strong portfolio of emerging companies taking advantage of the new technologies and business models of the Circular Bioeconomy, in addition to existing companies embracing this diversification opportunity.  MTU looks forward to working with the Cluster companies providing research, innovation and upskilling supports. This Cluster has the potential to set the South West region apart as a Circular Bioeconomy leader, delivering high value jobs and economic activity.” outlined Dr. Helena McMahon, Head of Dept. STEM & Circular Bioeconomy Research Group.

“Enterprise Ireland is delighted to be supporting the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South West. This is a cluster project which builds upon the current strengths of the Technology Gateways of Shannon ABC; IMaR and other RPO’s which MTU has a relationship with. It also links to a key multi-sector need to create added value from waste streams and the Marine Sectors. An excellent addition to the ecosystem in the region.” stated Jerry Moloney, Director, Mid-West/Kerry Region & Regional Initiatives, Enterprise Ireland.

If you’re interested in learning more and taking part in the project, please contact Catriona Power. Register to join the kick-off event on March 10th at 4pm, more information at  


Munster Technological University

Munster Technological University is a multi-campus technological university, contributing to the region through the provision of academic programmes that support student development and opportunities, education and research. MTU has an extensive and impressive regional footprint with six campuses across the South-West region in Cork and Kerry, and a student body of 18,000

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.

About the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group The Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CIRCBIO) was established in 2019 as a research group within Shannon ABC, recognising the high level of participation in Bioeconomy and Circular Economy research, engagement and education at National and EU level. The CIRCBIO Group are also member of the SFI Beacon Bioeconomy Research Centre. CIRCBIO brings together a diverse and dynamic research team with multidisciplinary expertise across all areas of the bioeconomy including bioresource modelling, value chain development, bioprocessing and extraction technologies, new product development, business model development and innovation management. The group are also active in high impact bioeconomy projects at national and EU level including Biorefinery Glas, INGREEN, BioWill and ICT-BIOCHAIN