How to stop the Teagasc brain drain

Speaking at the launch of the Teagasc Annual Report for 2013 Professor Gerry Boyle confirmed that the organisation had lost a number of its top research scientists over recent months and that, in a perfect world, he would want them replaced as quickly as possible.

These developments were a direct result of elite scientists within Teagasc being attracted to positions in other public and private sector organisations. As a consequence, vacancies currently exist for new Heads of Food Research and Animal Biosciences.

The Teagasc Director continued: “We can work around the issue of budgetary restraints quite well. But the current freeze on recruitment is giving cause for concern.”

When asked if he would like steps to be taken by government in the upcoming Budget to ameliorate this situation, he replied: “It is not within my remit to bring matters of this nature directly to government ministers. But speaking personally, any commitment on their part to ease the recruitment limitations that have been placed on Teagasc would be extremely welcome.”

Teagasc Chairman Dr Noel Cawley expressed the view that the current vacancies at the very top of the organisation’s research network would be filled with people of the right calibre in the very near future and added: “We are talking about ‘mission critical’ posts in this regard. All of the relevant government ministers have been made aware of the need to ensure that the current vacancies are filled as quickly as possible. And I am confident that they will respond in an appropriate manner.”

Dr Cawley concluded: It’s an exciting time in agriculture, notwithstanding the challenges currently facing certain enterprises. Teagasc’s integrated research, education and advisory services are providing the science to underpin the future development of the Irish agriculture and food industry. And we remain committed to fully meeting these challenges during the period ahead.”