A student at the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Agriculture and Food Science has been awarded a six-month fellowship in the US.

It comes as UCD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), establishing a new International Innovator Fellowship programme with the Innovation Institute for Food and Health (IIFH) at University of California, Davis (UC Davis).

The fellowship will enable UCD graduate students to experience food and health innovation taking place at the US university.

It will also allow students to experience entrepreneurship in San Francisco, as part of their PhD studies.


UC Davis is currently ranked first in the US for agriculture, veterinary medicine, sustainability and diversity.

IIFH works with academic and industry partners to incorporate metabolic design into foods and beverages.

Well-established connections and collaborations already exist between UCD and UC Davis, particularly in the areas of agriculture, food and health.

Prof. Dolores O’Riordan, vice-president for global engagement at UCD, said the development of the fellowship shows how existing links helped strengthen connections with California-based researchers and investors.

“This initiative is timely with the current heightened awareness of diet, health and pandemic recovery that has led to innovations to address today’s societal challenges,” O’Riordan said.

The long-standing partnership has given food and health graduates industry exposure, developed collaborations for researchers and given investors insight into studies.

Dr. Paul Dodd, associate vice chancellor for interdisciplinary research and strategic initiatives at UC Davis said: “This agreement stands as a significant development in global advancement of research, investment and education.”

UCD student

The first student to embark on the new International Innovator Fellowship is Róisín O’Sullivan, who is pursuing her PhD at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science.

Róisín is originally from Kilmanagh, Co. Kilkenny and her research focuses on the authentication of milk and dairy ingredients using stable isotope ratio analysis.

O’Sullivan will to travel to California, for a six-month period, during which she will have the opportunity to carry out research in a UC Davis laboratory and complete a three-month residency at a venture capital firm in San Francisco.