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IT Tralee, UCD and Teagasc Partner to Launch First Level 9 Post Graduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Wednesday, 4 December, 2019

Institute of Technology Tralee and University College Dublin have collaboratively developed a Post Graduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business to address skills shortages in the emerging area of bioeconomy and respond to the challenge to deliver on talent for the transition to a low carbon economy.

The new programme, which will welcome its first cohort of students in January 2020, is designed to enable graduates to develop the skills and competencies in the emerging area of the bioeconomy through a part time, blended programme, delivered primarily online. The programme will provide students with access to state of the art knowledge and skills in sustainable agriculture and climate, key enabling technologies, biobased products and value chain development, markets, business and industrial organisational models. The programme is offered through the HEA-funded Springboard+ programme, with 90% of the course fee funded by the Government for qualifying participants.

Speaking at the launch of the Programme at IT Tralee on Friday, Programme Directors Dr. Helena McMahon, IT Tralee and Assistant Professor Fionnuala Murphy, UCD, discussed the collaborative approach that UCD, IT Tralee and industry have taken to develop the programme in response to Ireland is growing demand for specialist skills and talent. “IT Tralee and UCD engaged extensively with enterprises from SMEs to multi-nationals via a range of national and European funded research and innovation projects. These industry collaborations revealed that innovation and technology maturation is progressing at such an accelerated rate that the majority of companies do not have the in-house expertise to support integration and deployment of the emerging technologies. The bioeconomy professionals that these companies require are in limited supply and this is creating a bottleneck in advancement of the Biobased Industries in Ireland. In response IT Tralee and UCD have collaboratively developed the PG Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business, tailored to provide the specific skills and talent to enable Irish companies advance towards the goal of global leaders in Biobased Industries” said Assistant Professor Fionnuala Murphy.

“This programme will support the development of a key pillar of the work force of the future. Whilst delivering economic benefit in the form of high quality jobs and exports, upscaling of the bioeconomy and the biobased industries which positions within the circular and low carbon economy, will deliver significant environmental and social benefits, including rural revitalisation and resilience as centres of sustainable agriculture, biomass and side-stream production. From a national and government perspective the graduates of this program will contribute positively to the advancement of disruptive innovation, technology adoption, skills and talent to enable the transition to a low carbon economy are prioritised by government in key initiatives such as Ireland 2040, Future Jobs Initiative and the Bioeconomy statement”, added Dr. Helena McMahon.

The Bioeconomy refers to the sustainable production of renewable resources (Agri-food, Forestry & Marine) and the conversion of these bio-resources, including side streams, using biotechnology into high value products for use in the food, feed, pharma, cosmetics, nutraceutical and renewable energy.

Ireland, given the strength of the Agri-Forestry, Food and Marine sectors is ideally positioned to capitalise on the opportunities of the bioeconomy, as a driver and enabler of sustainable enterprise and economic development. This is of particular relevance in the context of the current climate challenges, political and social mandate for a transition to a low carbon economy. This global movement is creating a significant demand for a new professional with state of the art in bioeconomy knowledge.

Commenting on the value of this strategic collaboration between IT Tralee, UCD and Springboard+, Brid McElligott Vice President for Research, Development and External Engagement outlined, “This programme is unique as Ireland’s first level 9 program dedicated to the Bioeconomy. The collaboration brings together two organisation at the cutting edge of Bioeconomy innovation and education, which will be of huge benefit to the students, as they leverage the combined strengths of both higher education’s academic, research and enterprise networks”

Professor Joseph Walsh, Head of the School of STEM added, “IT Tralee welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with UCD on this innovative programme, which will produce graduates equipped with the skills and knowledge required to thrive in this rapidly changing sector. The development of a pipeline of new talent in the areas of Bioeconomy is vital for our economy, if Ireland is to remain internationally competitive.”

Professor Colm O’Donnell, Head of UCD’s School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, said, “Our School is delighted to support this new programme with IT Tralee which offers students a unique career pathway to prepare them for tomorrow’s economy. The programme also leverages our School’s strong international track record in delivering innovative technological solutions to address global and societal bioeconomy challenges through leadership of large H2020 projects including AgroCycle and AgRefine.” Professor Maeve Henchion, Head of Dept of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis in Teagasc says “I am delighted to contribute to this programme from the perspective of social acceptance. While it may be obvious that primary producers and processors need to be involved, unless the market, regulators, policy makers and indeed local communities embrace the bioeconomy, it will not flourish. We need to consider and plan for these aspects now rather than later.”

Applications with a closing date of December 13th are now being accepted for a start on January 20th. For information please visit (opens in a new window)www.springboardcourses.ie or contact IT Tralee’s Life Long Learning on 066 7191701 (opens in a new window)info@lifelonglearning.ie

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