NovaUCD secures €3m to develop AgTech hub at UCD Lyons Farm

Posted 28 January, 2020

NovaUCD was been awarded €3m in funding to help turn UCD Lyons Farm into the central hub for ag-tech research in Ireland.

The Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, NovaUCD received the money from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) to develop a AgTech Connector Innovation Hub at the County Kildare farm.

The hub aims to bring together Ireland’s wider AgTech community and help with the launching and scaling of AgTech companies by providing access to on-farm research collaboration opportunities, as well as a location to test and trial their products and services in a real-world environment.

Also available will be access to dedicated acceleration programmes and incubation facilities.

UCD Lyons Farm, located between Celbridge and Newcastle, is 250 hectare of land comprising of dairy, beef, sheep, equine, crop and environmental research, teaching and commercial facilities.

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation at NovaUCD, said the nationwide programme would act as “a pipeline of early-stage high-potential innovations, entrepreneurs and new ventures”.

“The global ag-tech sector is ripe for disruption and Ireland now has a great opportunity to leverage its unique assets to develop innovative, job-creating ag-tech companies with global ambition,” he added.

Professor Alex Evans, Head, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science said: “This is a very exciting development for UCD Lyons Farm and the many agriculture and food entrepreneurs that we engage with. It builds on UCD’s success in translating knowledge into impact and will greatly stimulate our agriculture, food and environmental science research and education activities.”

The new AgTech project will be led by NovaUCD, and developed in collaboration with AIB, Kildare County Council and Kildare LEO and several agri-companies and investors including, Devenish, Dairymaster, and Glanbia, and Finistere, The Yield Lab, and Atlantic Bridge.

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, an open national competitive call to support regional projects that drive sustainable job creation in the regions.

Minister Humphreys said: “The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is about supporting every region to build on its unique strengths and ultimately create sustainable jobs. Collaboration is at its core, among the public and private sectors, within and across regions.”

The REDF is an initiative of the Government under Project Ireland 2040 and it aligns with the Future Jobs Ireland framework.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations