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Research Areas

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Research and scholarship at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science is guided by the UCD Strategy 2020-2024 – (opens in a new window)Rising to the Future. Our work meshes with the four major themes of this strategy: Creating a Sustainable Global Society, Transforming through Digital Technology, Building a Healthy World and Empowering Humanity.


As a constituent school of the UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences, our work is also informed by the One Health concept that recognises the fundamental interconnections between humans, agricultural species, wild animals and plants, and our shared terrestrial and aquatic environments. Researchers at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science are determined to place UCD at the forefront of agri-food research internationally.

Research activity in Animal and Crop Science is innovative, transformative, and translatable to meet current and future producer, consumer, and policy requirements for sustainable food production and land use.

Our core research is aimed at developing an in-depth understanding of the biological drivers of animal and crop production, its interface with the sustainable use of natural resources, the production of healthy food products and the development and adaptation of new smart technologies in primary agricultural production. The research activity in Animal and Crop Science not only allows our Agri-food industry to respond to national and international policy drivers, but also to inform and shape future policy through the translation of our research outcomes into on farm solutions in production agriculture to meet societal and government requirements. 

Our research resides at the nexus of increasing global demand for food, greater legislative compliance in terms of environmental, biodiversity and welfare challenges and reduced resource availability which not only provides an ecosystem but also a prerequisite for reframing production agriculture. The Animal and Crop Science section encompasses research that spans animal and crop production from the cellular to the systems level. Shifts in agricultural production on a national scale, coupled with legislative requirements and the rapid development of smart technologies drive our current research activities to produce solutions supporting local, national and international food production in the face of global challenges.

Research areas include:

  • Animal Breeding
  • Animal Genomics
  • Animal Health and Nutrition 
  • Animal Immunology
  • Animal Production Systems
  • Animal Physiology
  • Crop Science
  • Precision Agriculture
  • Mechanisation, Data and ICT
  • Equine Science
  • Sustainabiliaty

The agribusiness and rural development section encompasses the disciplines of agribusiness and farm management, agricultural economics and marketing, rural development, communications, extension and innovation and humanitarian action.

The main objectives of the Agribusiness and Rural Development group are to advance sustainability and competitiveness of the agri-food system, to enable sustainable rural livelihoods and to provide evidence-based analyses of policies and programmes that impact on the agri-food sector and rural communities. Common and cross-cutting themes within the section include sustainability, innovation, climate change, community development, knowledge exchange and food policy, which are addressed using a wide range of research methods.

Research areas include: 

  • Agricultural Economics and Food Business
  • Agricultural Extension
  • Rural Development
  • Humanitarian Action

The sustainable management of our limited resources on Earth is at the centre of what we do, from the production of plant-based, and animal based foods, fibre and fuel, to the protection of soil and water quality and biodiversity. 

Our core research is aimed at meeting the needs of society, of government and of the agri-environmental sector. The sustainable management of our limited resources on earth is at the centre of what we do, from the production of food, fibre and fuel, to the protection of soil and water quality and biodiversity. We have the capacity to respond rapidly to the need for solutions to new challenges. We will continue to carry out research to inform government policy and management practice to maximise our carbon sinks, minimise our greenhouse gas emissions, protect soil and water quality, and improve resource use efficiency and the quality and supply chain of horticultural fresh produce and agricultural produce and enhance biodiversity on farms and in forests.

Our research supports land-use decision making, striving to find a balance between production and protection, linking source and sink, through intensive and extensive agriculture, horticulture and forestry. The Environment and Sustainable Resource Management section comprises research groups that deepen our understanding of the natural world and its relationship to the environment in which the management of natural resources operates. Disruption to Ireland’s environment, society, economy and natural resources as a result of our changing climate is driving much of our current research, as we work towards a net zero carbon combination of agriculture, horticulture and forestry. The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the One Health approach underpin our activities.

Research areas include:

  • Agricultural Ecosystems
  • Forest Biology and Economics
  • Amenity Horticulture
  • Ingegrated Pest Management
  • Landscape Management
  • Nutrient Management
  • One Health and Zoonoses
  • Production Horticulture
  • Soil Management
  • Sustainable Forest Management
  • Sustainability
  • Wildlife Management 

Our vibrant, multidisciplinary, Food and Health team, spans the food chain from food science to human health and consumer behaviour.

Research within the Food Science and Nutrition Section is focused on innovations that deliver foods with improved taste, texture and health attributes with reduced costs and environmental impact; whilst enabling people to live healthy lives and promoting well-being through the life course. All activities within the unit are informed by national and European strategies including Food Wise 2025, Food 2030 and most recently the EU Farm to Fork Strategy. Research within the section falls into the areas of Food Science and Human Nutrition; ultimately both operate with a goal of improving the health of consumers.

The Food Science group has international expertise across many areas with a strong focus on dairy and meat research. One of these key areas is the development of novel processing approaches which can either be used as alternatives to conventional methods or as entirely new processes as part of a circular bioeconomy. The group is active in the design of new food structures with enhanced functionality of food in terms of taste and nutrition.

The Human Nutrition team is focused on research that enables people to live healthy lives and the promotion of well-being through the life course. Activities include acute assessment of dietary intake through the use of novel biomarkers and working to establish new biomarkers of long-term dietary exposure. Work in Personalised Nutrition or Precision Nutrition revolves around the development of strategies for the delivery of dietary advice at a personal level.

Research areas include:

  • Biomarker research
  • Development of new food structures
  • Food Consumption Surverys
  • Food Safety
  • Functional Food Research
  • Health Ageing
  • Innovative processing technologies
  • Meat and dariy authentication 
  • Personalised Nutrition 
  • Valorisation of food waste

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science

Agriculture and Food Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7205 | Location Map(opens in a new window)