€3 million for collaborative developments at UCD Lyons Farm

€3 million has been awarded in funding – to University College Dublin’s (UCD’s) Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs (Nova) – to develop an AgTech Connector Innovation Hub at the UCD Lyons Farm in Co. Kildare.

NovaUCD was one of 26 successful applicants, which has recently been approved for funding under the third round of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).

The UCD Lyons Farm is a fully functioning farm comprising of 250ha of land, with dairy, beef, sheep, equine, crop and environmental research, teaching and commercial facilities.

The farm is located between Celbridge and Newcastle.

The goal of the AgTech Connector Innovation Hub is to “bring together the AgTech ecosystem in Ireland to accelerate the launch and scaling of AgTech companies, by providing them with access to on-farm research collaboration opportunities”.

They also provide a location to test and trial their products and services in a real-world environment, along with access to dedicated acceleration programmes and incubation facilities.

This project will be led by NovaUCD, in collaboration with:
  • AIB, Kildare County Council and Kildare Local Enterprise Office (LEO);
  • Companies including Devenish, Dairymaster and Glanbia;
  • Investors including Finistere, The Yield Lab, Atlantic Bridge and AgTech researchers and innovators at UCD, Teagasc and Wageningen, Netherlands.

“The global AgTech sector is ripe for disruption and Ireland now has a great opportunity to leverage its unique assets to develop innovative, job-creating AgTech companies with global ambition,” said Tom Flanagan, UCD director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD.

The new hub will also act as an international showcase destination for business and investors to view the best of innovation in AgTech in Ireland.

“This is a very exciting development for UCD Lyons Farm and the many agriculture and food entrepreneurs that we engage with,” said Prof. Alex Evans, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science.

In total, over €40 million in funding was announced by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, in the latest results of the REDF.

What is the REDF?

The REDF was introduced in 2017, to co-finance the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative enterprise projects.

“The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is about supporting every region to build on its unique strengths and ultimately create sustainable jobs,” said Minister Humphreys.

“Collaboration is at its core, among the public and private sectors, within and across regions,” she added.