WEFTA 2017
Keynote Speakers

Dr Cait Murray-Green


Dr Cait Murray-Green (PhD) is the CEO of CuanTec, the circular economy bioplastics company based in Scotland that is developing anti-microbial, compostable and biodegradable food wrapping. Dr Murray-Green has been involved with CuanTec since its inception and is highly skilled in the commercialisation of science and technology. Previously she has also worked as a Commercialisation Manager working with public sector scientists bringing their commercialisation ambitions to life, helping them form spin-outs and establish key-partner relationships for licencing opportunities. She has created her own consultancy company, Strategic Scientific Consulting, to work with scientists to create better businesses. Through this avenue, she became involved with CuanTec, helping the founding scientist to identify the market opportunity, prepare the business plan and achieve grant and investor funding. CuanTec will present on their interest in food waste and how they are helping to create a circular economy between fisheries and food retailers within the seafood section. The project targets reduced landfill,and working to valorise all elements of the process – upcycling langoustine shells into food packaging which extends shelf-life, reducing food waste particularly the 10% loss between farm and retailer, and also planning to create high quality organic fish food for salmon along the way. CuanTec have developed a low energy, low cost and highly effective extraction process to obtain chitin and chitosan from crustacean shells and work closely with seafood processors to create partnerships and collaborations including commissioning fermentation sites close to their facilities. This biodegradable, compostable and naturally-antimicrobial bioplastic film will be a first to market product and is initially focussed on seafood retailers helping them to potentially significantly extend the shelf-life of fresh seafood. Development work is on-going and CuanTec welcome opportunities to collaborate and work with different crustacean species and to further refine products for each step of the fisheries, packaging and retail markets.

Jón Birgir Gunnarsson

Skaginn 3X

As most Icelanders Gunnarsson grew up around fisheries and fish processing and spent his young adulthood as a Mechanic serving the Icelandic fishing fleet.  After acquiring a Mechanical Engineering Diploma Gunnarsson started his carrier at Icelandic Equipment provider Marel.  Within Marel Gunnarsson enjoyed an impressive carrier, including management and leadership roles such as leading the group seafood activities and serving as executive board member.  Gunnarsson graduated with an MBA degree from the University of Iceland in 2009.  After spending the last years at the fast growing high tech start up Gunnarsson has recently joined high tech equipment provider Skaginn 3X as a Director of Sales and Marketing.  Gunnarsson has a family of four plus a dog, in addition to that his wife has a cat.  He enjoys traveling, taking photos, cycling and socialising with friends over a nice meal and the occasional glass of red wine.  

Alice Stack
Marigot Ltd

Dr Alice Stack, MVB PhD DipACVIM received her primary degree, a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, from University College Dublin in 2006, after which she specialised in horses and worked in an equine hospital in the United Arab Emirates. Specialty (internal medicine) clinical training and a PhD in comparative medicine and integrative biology, specifically in pulmonary microvascular physiology at Michigan State University in North America followed this. 

Her role at Marigot Ltd. is that of a Research Project Manager. Marigot Ltd is a functional marine ingredients company and its range of marine minerals includes AcidBuf and Aquamin, both of which are derived from a unique raw material, the red algae - Lithothamnion species. With a distinct composition, which includes calcium, magnesium and 72 other trace-minerals, AcidBuf is used in animal feed with proven production benefits in ruminant species, and Aquamin is utilised in foods, drinks, and dietary supplements where it is proven to deliver clear bone, joint and digestive health benefits.

Fiona Grant

Marine Institute

Fiona Grant is the National Contact Point and National Delegate for marine aspects of Societal Challenge 2 (Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy). Fiona is responsible for International Programmes in the Marine Institute and together with colleagues, participates in the European Marine Board and JPI Oceans. Previous roles have included the Research Infrastructures brief in the Marine Institute. Prior to that, she was the National Protection / Conservation Coordinator in the Central Fisheries Board (now Inland Fisheries Ireland). Her primary degree is in Earth Sciences, with postgraduate qualifications in Marine Geology and Geophysics awarded from NUI, Galway.

Andrew Mullins

Bord Bia

Andrew Mullins is a Sustainability Development Manager in Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, and has been an integral member of the team involved in the development and implementation of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Sustainability Programme since its inception in 2012. The Origin Green programme aims to demonstrate the commitment of the Irish food and drink industry, at both farm and manufacturing level, to producing in a sustainable manner and highlight the targets being set by the industry to deliver continuous improvement. To date, 51 Irish seafood companies have become verified members of the programme, with clear sustainability goals identified which are closely aligned to their business plans. Origin Green identifies key objectives including targets to reduce and eliminate seafood waste, maximising processing efficiencies, increased by-product utilisation and ultimately reducing a company’s carbon footprint. Over the years, Andrew has worked to integrate sustainability across all levels of the supply chain within the Irish food and drink industry, pioneering to develop the practices and procedures which have made this a reality. Andrew also works with colleagues to communicate the targets being set and progress being made by participating members to key trade customers. Andrew has an MSc in Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility from Queen’s University, Belfast and a PGDip in International Business Development from Dublin Institute of Technology.

Jason Whooley 


Jason Whooley has been Chief Executive Officer of Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) since September 2014. Based in Monaghan, BII is a joint venture between Killybegs Fishing interests and Norwegian partners. BII aims to extract high-end proteins, oils and calcium from fish, for use in a range of sectors including food ingredients. Prior to taking up the role in BII, Jason was CEO of the state seafood agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara since 2007. In that position, he was a member of various government led groups including the Implementation Group for Food Harvest 2020. He has an extensive knowledge of the fishing industry having spent over a decade as CEO of the fishing group, ISWFO. Jason is a graduate of University College Cork (UCC), where he was awarded a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and H.Dip in Food Marketing and Co-operative Development.

Garrett Dee

Garrett Dee advises Irish consumer food and pet food companies on all aspects of their business, as a Senior Development Adviser with Enterprise Ireland. He takes a particular interest in the application of emerging technologies and in market-led innovation. Previous roles Garrett performed include leading the AMT Ireland Food Engineering research centre at University College Cork and as a Commercialisation Specialist tasked with technology transfer from third level research to the food industry. His primary degree was in chemistry and he holds an M.Sc. in Technology Management.

Grace Binchy

Board Bia

Grace works as an Insight and Innovation specialist with Bord Bia.
Grace worked for many years in the field of advertising working with the Grey Group in London and New York as well as spending a significant period of time with the Publicis Group in Dublin. Her love of insight led her into research, working for Lansdowne, now Lansdowne MRBI.
Grace’s role in Bord Bia involves working with food and drinks companies from start ups to more well established companies, working with them to understand the importance of the consumer and how best to develop their brand for the marketplace.