New funding of Agri-Food Graduate Development Programme (AFGDP)

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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD has announced that DAFM have committed to continued financial support for the Agri Food Graduate Development Programme (AFGDP) to 2018. The AFGDP was established in 2007 as a collaboration between UCD, UCC and Teagasc with the remit of upskilling postgraduate researchers in the area of agriculture, forestry, food science and nutrition for employment in the sector.


To date, over 1000 postgraduate researchers in Agri-Food areas from institutions throughout Ireland have successfully completed one or more modules within this programme. The AFGDP has a timetable of 36 modules scheduled to run from 2015-2018 with a capacity to accommodate over a thousand researchers from the Agri-Food sector.


In addition, the AFGDP is currently in the process of expanding its audience and impact by providing post-doctoral training, and designing graduate training programmes with industry partners. This broader programme of activities will take place within a new framework, called the Agri-Food Advanced Professional Development (Agri Food APD), which includes the core AFGDP programme, with post-doctoral training and professional development for industry as closely linked projects.

The Project Management Group is as follows:

Professor Alan Kelly UCC                     Programme Coordinator

Professor Dolores O’Riordan UCD     Director of Training

Julie Dowsett UCD                                 Programme Manager

Dr Joanne Fearon UCC                         Programme Manager

Dr John Finn Teagasc                            Director of Post Graduate Training


The programmes will be steered at a high level by an Advisory Board including representatives from Academia, Industry and Governmental bodies.

The Co-ordinator of the AFGDP, Professor Alan Kelly of UCC, said ‘the AFGDP remains the single largest programme designed specifically for provision of career-relevant skills and training for postgraduate students in any discipline in Ireland, and the new elements being introduced will extend this experience and range of well-established training programmes to new audiences, bringing even greater coherence to development of the Agri-Food professionals of the future national and global food sector’.

The Director of Training of the AFGDP, Professor Dolores O’Riordan of UCD said ‘We are launching this programme at a very exciting time in the Irish Agri-food landscape.  Irish companies have the ambition to become global leaders in Agri-Food innovation. This programme will provide Ireland’s young researchers with the skills that will underpin innovation and become the future leaders in the Agri-Food sector’.


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