AgTechUCD Centre Director: Job Opportunity with UCD Nova DAC

UCD Lyons Farm

AgTechUCD Centre Director: Job Opportunity with UCD Nova DAC

UCD Nova DAC, a subsidiary of University College Dublin, wishes to appoint a Director for the new AgTechUCD Innovation Centre.  This is a 3-year Fixed Term contract and will be based in NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin and in UCD Lyons Farm in Celbridge.  This is an exciting opportunity for a charismatic leader with strong commercial and technical innovation and agri-food experience to develop the new AgTechUCD Innovation Centre and associated programmes

AgTechUCD will provide incubation space and on-farm testing for new products and services.  It will run a Nationwide AgTechUCD Innovation Challenge Programme to identify and support start-ups and established businesses develop creative new products and services.  It will also be a focal point for the AgTech innovation ecosystem, and an innovation showcase for the best that Ireland has to offer the world in AgTech.   

AgTechUCD is a collaboration between NovaUCD, AIB, Kildare County Council, and Kildare LEO and is funded by the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. It also includes support from agri-companies such as; Devenish, Carbery, Dairymaster, and Glanbia; investors such as; Finistere, The Yield Lab, and Atlantic Bridge, along with leading AgTech researchers and innovators at UCD, Teagasc and Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands. 

About the role:

The successful candidate will be responsible for developing and managing the key performance indicators against which the AgTechUCD strategic goals and finances can be tracked, and report these to the stakeholders and funders. They will also have responsibility for leading the annual planning process with stakeholders on the Advisory Board to ensure that the AgTechUCD is on track.

 Other areas of responsibility are:

  • Provide input to UCD Facilities to ensure that the new AgTechUCD Innovation Hub facility is built to meet current and future client and staff requirements and is delivered within budget and within committed timelines.
  • Lead interdisciplinary flagship programmes and initiatives to attract external funding and gain international recognition.
  • Promote a culture of excellence in supporting clients and in partnering with investors, corporate sponsors, national and international agri-food accelerators and incubators and appropriate state agencies.
  • Promote the profile of UCD and AgTechUCD through effective management, communication and marketing.
  • Manage and develop AgTechUCD staff and sub-contractors and provide effective structures for overall management and engagement with clients, collaborators and the advisory board.
  • Devise appropriate actions to boost the availability of early-stage finance for new ventures.
  • Understand the investment community needs and promote the AgTechUCD portfolio of investable ventures to angel investors, venture capital firms and corporate venture capital programmes to secure investments.
  • Establish strong relationships with the Advisory Board, Enterprise Ireland, AgTechUCD partners; venture capitalists, angel investors and other incubator and accelerators to enhance our supports for new ventures.
  • Perform other roles and duties as directed by the Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation UCD, (Chair of the AgTechUCD Advisory Board).

About you:

As AgTechUCD Director you will be an ambitious self-starter and creative thinker, who understands market trends and has a passion for advancing companies in the high growth agri-food and veterinary science sectors. You will be expected to provide leadership to the development of the strategic and operational plans for the AgTechUCD Centre and its portfolio of programmes so that the centre is self-sustainable in 3 years.

We expect that your background and skills will bring a minimum of 8 years’ experience of management in fields such as enterprise development, accelerators, incubators, innovation management, research business development and that you will have a relevant third-level qualification.

  • Significant experience of leading innovation-focused projects in a multi-partner environment with experience of working with early -stage companies or within the research/innovation fields.
  • You will have gained experience of managing the finances of an incubator or equivalent operation and will have proven capability of building rapport with founders, thinking creatively, appraising ideas, and delivering critical feedback.
  • Your experience of formulating early-stage investable business plans for technology opportunities, and engaging angels, corporate and venture capital firms to secure investments will be very important in this role so that you can leverage your experience of securing public funding and support services available nationally and internationally for early-stage high growth companies.
  • We expect that you will have a high degree of familiarity with good governance structures and procedures and be experienced in managing professional teams to achieve significant results.
  • It will be necessary for you to be experienced in running events and communicating successes, as well as having the ability to deal with high level of administrative and organisational capability and have a proven ability to work independently and to manage a large, diverse set of tasks and projects.
  • Flexibility (in working hours and tasks) and excellent verbal and written communication skills as well as a willingness to travel as needed and a full driving licence will all be essential for this position.

The following is a list of the desirable skills and capabilities:

  • A higher degree in Business or Management (e.g. MBA).
  • Strong understanding of the trends and market opportunities and a passion and understanding of agri-food technology advancements across a wide range of disciplines. 
  • Experienced in securing and/or providing advice to companies to secure, angel, corporate or venture investments.
  • Experience in developing and delivering successful new programmes for entrepreneurship and new venture support.
  • Extensive and strong relationships in the agri-food business community as well as the venture capital and wider investment community in Ireland and abroad.

The selection criteria for this role, will be based on the qualifications, skills, knowledge and/or experience that the successful candidate would need to demonstrate for successful discharge of the responsibilities of the position.  Applications will be assessed on the basis of how well candidates satisfy these criteria.

To apply for this position: Please send a copy of your curriculum vitae along with a cover letter detailing how you meet the criteria for this position to Helen Mc Grath, Operations Manager, e:

For further information or informal enquiries on this role please contact the Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, Tom Flanagan, e:

Note: Closing date for applications is 12:00 noon on 22 July 2021.


7 July 2021

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, NovaUCD, e: