University College Dublin to Host EU and UN Agrifood Research Collaboration Forum in Brussels to Support the UN SDGs

University College Dublin to Host EU and UN Agrifood Research Collaboration Forum in Brussels to Support the UN SDGs

University College Dublin (UCD) will host a UN General Assembly (UNGA 74) satellite side event on enabling research collaboration in Agrifood between the UN and EU at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU in Brussels on 24 September (morning).

Organised by UCD Research and Innovation the forum will address UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #2* and #17** by exploring potential synergies between EU Research policies and programmes and the UN SDGs with specific reference to science capacity building and research in the Agrifood sector.

The forum will coincide with the European Commission’s research and innovation days in Brussels and the UN SDGs Summit in New York.  

Since 2018 UCD has been advocating for a new model of global research partnership through a Sustainable Development Infrastructure in Agrifood (SDIA) combining capacity building for science, and research and development, with production strategies, processing optimisation and nutrition from producer to consumer.

The SDIA will advance the contribution and role of collaborative science in the attainment and delivery of the SDGs through research and innovation collaborations, bringing together industry, government and NGOs and other actors in the pre-competitive space.

At the heart of the SDIA is the circular bioeconomy, maximising food production and processing cycles to optimise the value of resources and minimise environmental impact, while at the same time delivering on the need for nutritious safe food and sustainable non-fossil based products for sustainability of the planet.  

Speaking in advance of the forum Triona McCormack, Director of Research, UCD said, “It is now imperative that we engage with policy and decision-makers to examine how EU and UN cooperation can be aligned to deliver a sustainable global food system that positively impacts human health.”  

“We envisage that the outcome of this forum will be practical initiatives to support the implementation of the objectives advanced in the European Union’s proposal for Horizon Europe, including alignment with the UN SDGs.”

The aim of forum is to progress the SDIA initiative and bring together international research, industry, government and NGO stakeholders to:

  • Develop a partnership model capable of a truly global response to global challenges
  • Discuss the practical approaches to developing solutions that address the global sustainability challenges for Agrifood
  • Support a pathway through which delivery of these solutions can be achieved
  • Provide a networking forum for international partners
  • Explore alignment of funding streams such as Horizon Europe, Neighbourhood, Development and International Co-operation Instrument and global philanthropy to deliver on the SDGs.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland's Permanent Representative to the UN (via video address)
  • Ambassador Declan Kelleher, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the EU
  • H.E. Dr Shumete Gizaw, State Minister, Ministry for Science and Technology
  • Karina Angelieva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Republic of Bulgaria
  • Dr John F. Kakule, Expert - Education, Science, Technology, IT, Health and Employment, Africa-Caribbean Pacific Group of States
  • John Bell, Director Healthy Planet, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission
  • Dr Mascha Zurbriggen, Scientific Advisor for the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, Switzerland
  • Dr Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security & Nutrition, DG DEVCO, European Commission
  • Paul Rübig, Former MEP for Austria and Former Chair of STOA
  • Triona McCormack, Director of Research, University College Dublin.

Registration information can be found via

*The aim of UN SDG #2 is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

**The aim of UN SDG #17 is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.


20 September 2019

For more information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, UCD Research and Innovation,  t: + 353 1 716 3712, e: or Dr Ciara Leonard, Public Affairs Manager, UCD Research & Innovation, t.+353 1 716 4003, e:

Editors Notes

Ireland has played a leading role in the framing of the SDGs through the Irish Ambassador to the UN, David Donohoe who was co-facilitator with the Kenyan Ambassador for the inter-governmental negotiations. Ireland has established a reputation as a global leader on issues of nutrition and food security. The Agri-food/Agri-business sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, employing over 170,000 people with an annual turnover of €26 billion. 

University College Dublin is leading research and innovation globally in this sector, employing world-class science to lead a portfolio of research and development initiatives in partnership with industry to create safe, sustainable, novel foods that promote human health.

In May 2018 the European Commission unveiled its proposal for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF).  Significantly €10 billion has been allocated within Horizon Europe for research and innovation specifically for food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy, recognising the importance of the Agrifood sector.  Ireland is well placed to contribute to policy options and to lead projects in this area and UCD has the experience and capacity to deliver world-class global collaborative projects in this domain.