20 researchers to benefit from €5.2 million investment

It has been announced that 20 “new experienced researchers” will benefit from a €5.2 million investment over the next five years.

The programme – which will be operated by Teagasc – will fund researchers for 36 months each.

Launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, the programme aims to develop the next generation of research leaders to underpin the objectives of Ireland’s Food Wise 2025 strategy.

Co-funded by the European Commission, the programme is set to open on Monday, July 2.

The programme offers applicants the opportunity to conduct their research in the best academic, or non-academic, organisation of their choice worldwide (outside of Ireland) for 18 months; this is then followed by a return phase to Teagasc in Ireland for a further 18 months.

Commenting on the initiative, Minister Creed said: “The fellowship programme represents a unique opportunity to take the most talented early-career researchers and develop them into a cohort which will become the research and innovation leaders of tomorrow.”

With an annual budget of €190 million, Teagasc combines research in the areas of food and agriculture with a dedicated farmer extension / advisory service; it also incorporates a department dedicated to technology transfer to the food industry.

Teagasc’s research portfolio is organised into four programme areas, including: animal and grassland; crops, environment and land use; food; and rural economy and development.

Benefits of being a Teagasc researcher include having access to more than 1,250ha of experimental farm land, “cutting-edge” research laboratories and “strong industry partnerships”.

Speaking about the new programme, the director of Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle, said: “Research Leaders 2025 is a major investment by Teagasc in the research and innovation leaders of the future.

I encourage potential candidates to engage with Teagasc researchers with a view to designing an impactful project which builds on their existing strengths and linking with a suitable host outside of Ireland for the outgoing phase.

“We look forward to welcoming the fellows back to Teagasc for the final 18 months of their fellowship,” he said.

Full details on the fellowships can be found on Teagasc’s website.