University College Dublin presents future Research Plans to European Commissioners Moedas and HoganMonday, 20 April, 2015
University College Dublin (UCD) presented its plans for future research in Agrifood and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) to European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, and European Commissioner Phil Hogan, responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development, who visited the university on Friday, 17 April 2015.
Senior researchers from UCD presented the university’s strategic plans for research and innovation over the next few years to the Commissioners, focussing on agrifood and ICT. Research leaders also outlined how UCD intends to lead important EU initiatives in these areas.
Professor Orla Feely, Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact at UCD, speaking before the Commissioners’ visit said:
“UCD is Ireland’s global university. Our portfolio of activities in research and innovation addresses issues of global concern, in partnership with international organisations and industry. Our engagement in the European Union’s research activities has been, and will continue to be, a key pillar of our success. The visit of Commissioners Moedas and Hogan is an honour for the university and provides the perfect occasion to showcase how UCD and Ireland can lead in addressing global challenges.”
The visit of the European Commissioners underlines UCD’s ambition to take a leading role in addressing Europe’s societal challenges through more collaborative R&D.
Pictured outside the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science are European Commissioners Phil Hogan and Carlos Moedas with Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact
As Ireland’s largest and most globally engaged university, UCD continues to make a unique and substantial contribution to the creation of modern Ireland. The university has a long track record of producing world-class science, through the excellence and impact of its research and scholarship, the quality of its graduates and its global engagement.
UCD’s leaders in agrifood, Prof Alex Evans, Head of the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Prof Dolores O’Riordan, Director of UCD’s Institute of Food and Health and Prof Kevin O’Connor, UCD and Chair of the EU Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking Scientific Committee spoke on a range of topics relating to the future of agriculture research in the context of the bioeconomy. The presentations focused on ensuring that increased food production, quality and quantity is underpinned by science and moreover that the integrity of the food chain is maintained. They also spoke on how to enhance food and nutritional value as well as the merits of the next-generation of ‘precision’ and ‘smart’ agriculture.
Prof Barry Smyth of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics gave a presentation outlining the opportunities for European leadership in data analytics and how UCD is working to realise these. While Prof Robert Shorten highlighted how the Internet-of-Things is changing our societies and economies. Both outlined how the citizen can be placed at the heart of a data-driven society.
Commissioners Moedas and Hogan also participated in a roundtable discussion with executives from 15 companies working in the agrifood, energy and ICT sectors. Participants discussed opportunities for improving engagement with the EU’s Research Framework Programme and maximising the impact of current and future EU investment in the areas of agrifood, energy and ICT, where UCD excels.
Speaking before his visit to Ireland, Commissioner Moedas said: "I'm very excited to visit UCD, one of the most attractive locations in Ireland for conducting excellent research and bringing to market new technologies and services. Alongside the other excellent universities and higher education institutes in Ireland, this is making a major contribution to boost growth and improve people's lives. I am particularly looking forward to meeting some of the many young researchers here that are being supported by EU funding, and to learn more about UCD's cutting edge research on agrifood and ICT."
Following this, Commissioner Hogan also commented: “The European Commission is delivering a considerable boost to agriculture and food research through Horizon 2020 under European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture. Support to research and innovation is coupled together to develop cross-thematic activities and avoid traditional research in ‘silos’. UCD is at the forefront of this drive, particularly in relation to areas such as Precision Farming, where there is huge potential for synergies between the ICT and agrifood sectors from laboratory to farm.”