University College Dublin to Host a Science Capacity Building Seminar for EU and UN Agri-Food R&D in Brussels

University College Dublin to Host a Science Capacity Building Seminar for EU and UN Agri-Food R&D in Brussels

University College Dublin (UCD) will host a science capacity building seminar for Agrifood-related research in the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU in Brussels on 24 September.

Click here to register to attend the seminar.

Organised by UCD Research and Innovation the seminar will explore potential synergies between EU Research Programmes and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with specific reference to research in the Agrifood sector and enable engagement with potential partners.  

Specifically this seminar will focus on the second UN SDG - end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. It will coincide with the European Commission’s research and innovation days in Brussels and the United Nations SDG Summit in New York.

The seminar follows on from a number of previous related events organised by UCD Research and Innovation which took place in Brussels, New York and Addis Ababa and proposals which emerged from discussions at these events.

UCD is proposing a new model of global research partnership through a Sustainable Development Infrastructure in Agrifood (SDIA) combining production strategies, processing optimisation and nutrition from producer to consumer.

The SDIA will see research and innovation partners, working with industry, government and NGOs to support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  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.  

Triona McCormack, Director of Research, UCD Research and Innovation said, “The upcoming seminar will be an important opportunity for current and potential SDIA partners to exchange views as well as specifically examining how EU and UN cooperation can be aligned in the area of agri-food science capacity building, including nutrition and health. The outcome of a stakeholder 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 seminar will advance the progress of the SDIA initiative and will:

  • 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 International Co-operation Instrument to deliver on EU and EU-Africa objectives.

To support the delivery of these objectives the seminar will:

  • Explore how to make the current regulatory and policy framework more enabling at EU level and globally
  • Develop policy options to support global R&D collaboration and examine best practices where they exist and facilitate cooperation
  • Raise awareness of the importance and contribution of collaborative science to achieving the SDGs
  • Assess the potential for private sector and philanthropic funding
  • Raise awareness with policy and decision-makers in Ireland, Europe and globally.

Confirmed speakers include;

  • H.E. Dr Shumete Gizaw, State Minister, Ministry for Science and Technology, Ethiopia
  • Karina Angelieva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Republic of Bulgaria
  • Ambassador Patrick Gomes, Director General, Africa-Carribean Pacific Group of States
  • Dr Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security & Nutrition, DG DEVCO, European Commission
  • Ambassador Shahid Kamal, COMSATS
  • Triona McCormack, Director of Research, University College Dublin.

 A more detailed agenda will be published in early September.

Registration is now open for the seminar via:


9 August 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 and UCD's Leadership Role

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.