2021 SAPBIO Strategic Priority Project

SAPBio: Stakeholder Attitudes and Perceptions of Biostimulants and Biopesticides


SAPBio: Stakeholder Attitudes and Perceptions of Biostimulants and Biopesticides is a UCD Earth Institute Strategic Priority project for 2021-2023.



The EU Farm to Fork strategy and Biodiversity Strategy 2030 seek to reduce pesticide and fertiliser use. Currently research at UCD is developing biostimulants and biopesticides while assessing the efficiency, environmental impacts and costs compared to conventional pesticides and fertilisers.  However, stakeholder perceptions of these biobased products have not been explored in Ireland and limited knowledge exists for Europe, particularly for public attitudes. Mapping and engaging stakeholders via workshops and surveys will allow this to be assessed. Findings will form the basis of an infographic, paper and policy document for the purpose of science-policy interface and facilitate a European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRIS) Focus Group. The knowledge gained will be a useful basis for further research in perceptions of sustainable agriculture.

SAPBio is a UCD Earth Institute Strategic Project led by Angela Feechan (Agriculture & Food Science) with co-applicants Aparajita Banerjee (Business), Geertje Schuitema (Business), Rainer Melzer (Biology and Environmental Science), Saoirse Tracy, Agriculture & Food Science), Kevin McDonnell (Biosystems and Food Engineering), Fiona Doohan (Biology & Environmental Science), Grace Gott (Biology & Environmental Science), Tomás Russell (Agriculture & Food Science), and Carl Ng (Biology and Environmental Science).

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Project Team

Angela Feechan profile picture Dr Angela Feechan is Lecturer (Crop Science) at the School of Agriculture & Food Science at University College Dublin, a role she has held since 2013. She was previously: Research Scientist. Molecular Fungal Pathology. Plant Industry, CSIRO, Australia (2011-2013); Post-Doctoral Scientist. Molecular Fungal Pathology. Plant Industry, CSIRO, Australia (2007-2011); and Post-doctoral Fellow. Molecular Plant-Fungal Interactions. University of Copenhagen, Denmark (2005-2007).
Aparajita Banerjee profile picture Dr Aparajita Banerjee is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, College of Business at University College Dublin. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental and Energy Policy from the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University, USA. In addition, she holds a MA in Economics degree from Jadavpur University, India. She is interested in research that examines the intersection of society, the environment, and government policies. She studies socio-environmental problems at different scales local, regional and global. She has conducted research in countries like India, Mexico, Ireland, and the United States.
Geertje Schuitema profile picture Assoc Professor Geertje Schuitema is an Associate Professor in Consumer Behaviour and Technology Adoption at UCD’s College of Business. Prior to joining UCD, she received her MSc and PhD degrees in Social and Behavioural Sciences from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. After her PhD, she was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Transport Research, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom and at the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University, Denmark.
Rainer Melzer profile picture Dr Rainer Melzer is Lecturer/Assistant Professor, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, a role he has held since 2015. He was previously Interim Professor (stand-in for a vacant professorship) of Genetics, Institute of Biology, University of Leipzig (10/2012 – 09/2014); Carl Zeiss fellowship for postdoctoral students, Department of Genetics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (10/2010 – 12/2014); Parental leave (04/2011 – 09/2011); Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Genetics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (09/2009 – 09/2010). His laboratory website is https://ucdflowerpower.org/
Saoirse Tracy profile picture Dr. Saoirse Tracy is Assistant Professor in Applied Plant Biology in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. She is a soil and plant scientist and her research centres around understanding plant root and soil interactions. Her research interests include using X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) to understand the response of roots to the soil physical environment and she uses her skills and experience of X-ray CT, soil science, hydrology, plant biology and image analysis to answer further questions about the rhizosphere and plant function. In 2017 she set up the UCD X-ray CT facility after securing >€2M funding. She has been Assistant Professor at UCD since 2015, prior to that she studied and worked at the University of Nottingham, U.K. She is Programme Director for the Taught Masters Programme in Environmental Resource Management. In 2019 she was appointed as the President of the Soil Science Society of Ireland. She is an active member of her School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee and has a keen interest in mentoring females in STEM.
Kevin McDonnell profile picture Professor Kevin McDonnell is Professor at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin with research interests in sustainable energy systems, Green technology, Bioenergy and Biofuels, Crop production, Power and machinery systems, agricultural systems, New generation energy technologies. He was previously: College lecturer UCD (2002- 2012); Inspector (waste licensing and enforcement) EPA (2000-2002) and Post doctoral Researcher UCD (1997-2000).
Fiona Doohan profile picture Professor Fiona Doohan is Professor at the School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin. She was previously: Senior Lecturer (plant-microbe interactions), School of BIology and Environmental Science, College of Life Sciences, UCD (07/2006 – 12/2013); College Lecturer (plant-microbe interactions), School of Biology and Environmental Science, College of Life Sciences, UCD (10/1999 – 07/2006); Postdoctoral scientist (molecular plant pathology), John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney Lane, Norwich, UK (1998 – 1999).
Grace Cott profile picture Dr Grace Cott is a coastal wetland ecologist. Her research focuses on examining the dynamics of coastal ‘blue carbon’, that is the carbon sequestered in vegetated coastal habitats, specifically tidal marshes, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests. Nitrogen plays a key role in regulating the global carbon cycle. She is interested in understanding the interaction between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrogen availability in predicting these ecosystems’ potential for carbon storage. Her postdoctoral studies at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Maryland, USA and University College Cork funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Programme and the Irish Research Council allowed her to investigate the degree to which organic nitrogen regulates the response of coastal wetland plants to climate change.
Tomas Russell profile picture Dr Tomás Russell is Assistant Professor in Agricultural Extension and Innovation at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. He is Programme Director for the Masters in Agricultural Extension and Innovation. He completed his BSc in Land Management in Agriculture at Waterford Institute of Technology before completing his PhD at University College Dublin looking at the role of agricultural extension in supporting farmer decision making on succession and inheritance. Prior to taking up his position in UCD, he worked as an Agricultural Development Officer in Teagasc during his PhD.
Carl Ng profile picture Assoc Professor Carl Ng is Associate Professor at the School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin. His research is focused on understanding the signalling processes underlying the responses of plants and crops to abiotic stresses, with a particular focus on the roles of abscisic acid (ABA) and sphingolipids. He, together with colleagues, was the first to show that the sphingolipid metabolite, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is an important calcium-mobilising second messenger active in the drought acclimation response of stomatal guard cells (Ng et al., 2001, Nature 410: 596-599). This was the first definitive confirmation that S1P is present in plants and that it is an integral component of the guard cell-drought signalling network.


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BioCrop will develop new and test existing biofertilsers and biopesticides for Barley production providing alternatives for growers in the face of EU regulations on fertiliser use and the loss of plant protection products.

Website: https://www.biocrop.ie/

Twitter: @BioCropIRL

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Stakeholder Map

SAPBIO Stakeholder Map

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