Dr Phil Kelly (right) being presented with the IDF Award 2016 by Dr Jeremy Hill (Fontera), Outgoing President of IDF, at the World Dairy Summit in Rotterdam, The Netherlands recently. (Photo: Hans Tak)

Doneraile native Dr Phil Kelly, a Senior Principal Research Scientist until his recent retirement from Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark has been presented with a major international award, at the World Dairy Summit 2016 held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on October 19, 2016, bridging a fourteen year gap. The last Irish recipient of the IDF Award was Prof Pat Fox, University College Cork in 2002.

Dr Kelly was one of three to be honoured, the others being Prof Paul Jelen (Canada) and Dr Kevin Marshall (New Zealand. He received the award for “his contribution largely to international progress in the field of dairy science and technology, especially in the field of applied research in dairy technology across many fields, over a career that has spanned nigh on 41 years. Phil has also been a champion of IDF both in Ireland and overseas in many countries across the dairy world.”

Phil, grew up near Doneraile in the townland of Skehanagh which was once renowned for its successful Tug-of-War team, and its men of great physical prowess during the post-World War 2 period, his father, who died in 2005, being the last surviving member of that team.

His early schooling was at Doneraile CBS Primary and Secondary schools and later UCC where he studied Dairy & Food Science and graduated with a B.Sc. Chris went on to do postgraduate research for an M.Sc (Dairy Engineering) and PhD. Later in mid-career, he studied part time for the MBA degree which he received in 1994. During the mid-1970s, he worked for a German Dairy Engineering company, Westfalia Separator and got great insights into how the company managed innovation and responded to technological opportunities.

Phil joined the Dairy Technology Department of An Foras Taluntais (Agricultural Institute) Moorepark (as it was known then prior to the formation of Teagasc) as a researcher in 1976, and progressed through various roles in both research and management to eventually take over as head of that department for a period of 22 years.

Sadly, his 94-year mother Maureen, passed away during August 2016 – just a few months before he received this award. She had been a great advocate over the years of participation in education and continuing professional development. She would have relished this moment!

Phil is married with 3 daughters and continues to be extremely busy, having been elected to a 2-year term as member of Science Programme Coordination Committee (SPCC) of the International Dairy Federation. Furthermore, Teagasc management has also facilitated him with the mentoring of a number of postgraduate students at Moorepark who are continuing on projects that Phil had started before retiring.