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Innovation, Commercialising Research and Entrepreneurship

22-24 November 2017 - UCD Are you an agri-food researcher? This November we a running our highly regarded module on innovation and how to describe the research impact of your PhD research. The essential message of what you are doing, for whom, and why? Sounds easy doesn’t it? And yet many researchers struggle with answering this on the first day. Being able to frame your research in such stark terms helps you to understand the landscape you are working in and the relevance of what you are doing and the part your research plays. It teaches invaluable skills not just in focusing on the impact of your research which is such an essential component to any research funding proposal, but also to understand the process of innovation from an industry perspective. Understanding this aspect of commercialisation is cited by many in....... read More

AFGDP welcomes Minister Michael Creed to speak to PhD researchers

Dr John Finn, Prof Dolores O'Riordan,Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Julie Dowsett, Dr Joanne Fearon and Prof Alan Kelly.Photo; Johnny Bambury-Fennell Photography By Julie Dowsett Programme Manager AFGDP I was delighted that Minister Michael Creed TD accepted our invitation to address our PhD researchers at our AFGDP module on Science Writing and Research Integrity held last week in the impressive Science Centre at UCD, and great to see us feature in his weekly diary on Facebook  http://bit.ly/2qVXLQM. My visit to UCD in the afternoon served as another reminder to me that I am working in an industry that boasts some of the most talented young people in the Country. Its easy to have confidence in a sector underpinned by such knowledge, innovation and passion. The 3 day module....... read More

Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme

This is a continuation of our series on the recent Farm to Fork Module where researchers wrote a summary of the presentations. This one by Aisling O'Connor from Padraig Brennan's Session on Origin Green. Padraig Brennan, representing Bord Bia introduced day two by providing a concise and informative update on the Irish food and drink sector and the future strategy of Bord Bia, and finally the role and value of Origin Green to the Irish agri-food sector. This is an exciting time to be involved in the Irish agri-food food sector, with 2016 being the 7th consecutive year of growth in the sector, and our various food and drinks products now being sold in 180 global markets responsible for approximately €11 billion euro! It was not surprising from Padraig Brennan’s presentation that prepared foods (48% of export growth in....... read More

Sustainable Food Systems and Food Security

The following is a report of a session at the AFGDP module Farm to Fork - Sustainability in the Bioeconomy 4-6th April 2017 by  Dr John Ingram of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University. Written by : Sheona Foley (DIT), Morgan O’Sullivan (Teagasc), Liam Hanrahan (Teagasc), Qicheng Hao (UCD) John Ingram’s presentation takes a food system approach to sustainability.  He started off by asking what is sustainability anyway?  Ingram argues it depends on your position in the food system and your world view.  There are many different definitions, any one of which will reflect the needs of the organisation or agenda it represents and whatever definition one adopts is in any event only really aspirational.   Whilst sustainability is not “all” about the environment, “The environment underpins our....... read More

Insects as Human Food

A guest blog from one of our PhD researchers Anna Rettore, Dublin Institute of Technology who recently completed our module on Science Writing and Presenting Skills in UCD 26-28th April 2016. I am carrying on a very exciting research project: it’s about the use of insects as human food, and when I found out that I had won the bursary for this 4 years PhD in the Dublin Institute of Technology I couldn’t believe it. I moved from Padova, my hometown in Italy, to the Irish capital, ready to start a new adventure. First of all I have to explain my motivation: apart from my personal passion for insects, there are very significant reasons to take into consideration eating insects. A very big part of the anthropic impact on the environment is due by the food supply chain, especially meat and animal-derived products. On the....... read More

Uncovering the emotion of eating to develop winning products

Guest blog by Dietmar Weiss    didi12@gmx.net   Eating can give us a myriad of sensations and emotions, good and bad, but it can be difficult for us to put these feelings into words. The slightly earthy, bitter, lingering flavour of elderberry jam can transport me back to my childhood in Germany and give me a warm homely feeling, but I find it hard to adequately describe it in words. So we know what we like, but the reasons for why we like or dislike a food might be buried deep in our unconscious. Unlocking these emotions and feelings for foods is the basis of my research. In Japan the feeling about something is called Kansai and Kansai engineering is the method by which feelings and impressions are extracted to optimize products during development, Seeking To communicate with the brain processes that are....... read More

A blog about my research… Here goes!

Guest blog by Jenna Warby - PhD Researcher - Monaghan Mushrooms/ DIT In April this year, 30 researchers and I, embarked on a three day journey with the AFGDP, where we were introduced to the art of scientific writing and presentation skills (http://afgdp.ie/our-modules/). Little did we know, that we would be faced with the task, of talking about our research in an, I’d go as far as saying, fun way. Needless to say, the idea alone caused inner panic: how can I make my project sound fun and interesting?! Then I thought about why I decided to do this research in the first place. After all, it had to be interesting, for me to commit to another four years of third level education. I brought myself back to when I started my new job in the Irish mushroom industry in 2009, with Monaghan Mushrooms....... read More

Broccoli juice a day keep the heart attack away

Guest post by Alex Lloyd a PhD researcher in DIT Macro shot of broccoli sprouts growing from seeds   Did you know that roughly 17.5 million people worldwide die annually from cardiovascular diseases (CVD)? These are a class of diseases that affect either the heart or may affect the blood vessels such as coronary artery disease. CVD ranks the number one killer worldwide. However what if there was a cheap available food-based preparation that could decrease the disease progress, improve quality of life and reduce healthcare costs. Currently treatment costs for CVD represent approximately 15% of the annual spend in Ireland. There are a combination of factors which increase the likelihood of CVD such as having a family history, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and excessive alcohol....... read More

Leadership for the Agri-Food Researcher

Every January we run a module on leadership skills for the Agri-Food sector. We ran it last week, and it is one of our most popular modules and always fills up quickly and I always have to turn people away. So for those who weren't lucky enough to get a place this time around, or those who are interested in knowing more,  I thought I'd summarise some key points and point you in the direction of where you can get more information if you are interested. A lot of it is about developing self-awareness - understanding and valuing your strengths, while seeing where you could develop skills and how they could help you to get where you want to be. Mindtools.com is a great website where a lot of very useful resources can be found, and a good place to start. Some actions you can take now! Write down where you would like....... read More

Guest Review of AFGDP

From Dr John Hyland   The value of the Agri-Food Graduate Development Programme   Individual research projects are at times isolated, where the subject area often seems disconnected from wider industry issues. Indeed, tunnel vision is a symptom that can inflict graduates to varying degrees. With this is mind I must complement the Agri-Food Graduate Development Programme (AFGDP) in their efforts, not only enhancing the knowledge and skills in the area of agri-food, but also in giving postgrads a sense of perspective. As a PhD graduate who undertook their studies in the UK, without a comparable network, I feel it is worth noting the value of the AFGDP. While I thoroughly enjoyed the research undertaken during my PhD, I sometimes felt that my subject area was somewhat detached from wider issues in the....... read More