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Communication and Agri-Innovation


Subject Area Agriculture & Food Science
Credits 10
Start Date 20 May 2024
Duration 12 weeks
Mode of Delivery Online 
Course Leader Assoc Prof Kieran Meade


  • 50% Learner Subsidy Fee
Application Deadline 13 May 2024

Our Communication and Agri-Innovation micro-credential, offered by the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, is a short course designed for individuals who want to enhance their communication skills and gain a better understanding of the importance of research, communication, and innovation in the agri-food sector today.

Effective communication plays a crucial role in all professions, and it holds particular significance for those working in, or aspiring to work in, the evolving farming, food and livestock industries. While fewer people are directly farming livestock due to advancements in society, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the sources, safety, and welfare of their food. It's highly important for professionals in this industry to effectively communicate with various audiences in a clear, meaningful, and impactful manner.

Communication is also intricately linked to the success of new innovations and the agri-food sector faces urgent challenges that demand innovative approaches to transform research findings into real-world, practical solutions. Effective communication skills facilitate collaboration among diverse stakeholders from different disciplines, all working towards a common goal. It is also critically important to include broader society to foster improved understanding, participation and ultimately uptake of new scientific solutions for the sector. 

The primary objective of this micro-credential is to develop students' communication and innovation skills, empowering them for future careers in animal science, food production, marketing, policy, education, journalism, and more. Throughout the course, industry journalists actively working in the sector will deliver guest lectures. Additionally, leveraging partnerships with UCD entities, along with UCD alumni from the field of animal science and commercial companies working in UCD AgTech, the micro-credential will provide valuable insights into the commercialisation of new ideas and the evolutionary process of solutions in the agri-food sector.

This micro-credential is relevant to professionals interested in developing their communication skills and understanding the pipeline involved in the commercialisation of new solutions. 

In particular those who are currently working in the agri-food sectors and animal health industry, including; practitioners (veterinary surgeons, nurses and allied staff) seeking to upskill in immunobiology, regulatory bodies, government departments, NGOs or trade organisations, journalists, teachers in agricultural science and commercial companies.

On completion of this micro-credential you should be able to:

  • Understand the need for tailoring communication style to suit particular audiences.
  • Understand the role of research in discovery of new solutions.
  • Appreciate the steps involved in moving from a concept to new solutions.
  • Engage with past students who have taken various career trajectories.
  • Develop confidence in solution-pitching, and giving and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Develop professional relationship skills.
  • Show clear evidence of communication skill development.

Topics that you will cover include:

  • Professional development skills (mind tools, value analysis, skills mapping and SWOT analysis), informational interviews, building your network, CV and interview skills.
  • Types of careers and the employers perspective.
  • Building your brand - communication technologies, communication goals, communication types, tailoring your communication style, social media, and the stakeholder perspective.
  • Innovation, bodystorming, design thinking, working smarter, fostering and entrepreneurial mindset, and disruptive innovation.
  • Framing a business canvas, defining a solution and your USP, testing assumptions, market discovery, assessing the competition, and routes to commercialisation.
  • Commercial funding and ‘spinning out’, and an Agtech incubation case study.

This micro-credential will give you the necessary foundation in professional development skills, help develop and tailor your communication skills, foster an improved understanding of the role of research, and the opportunities and challenges involved in innovation within the sector.

This micro-credential is delivered through the UCD online learning platform (Brightspace). The lecture materials will be uploaded weekly for you to work through when fits your own schedule but you will need to meet the key assessment dates. 

You will learn in a variety of ways, through a mixture of autonomous learning, live online tutorials, peer interactions and project-based learning. 

A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student, you will have full access to the library. 

This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves approximately 200 hours of learner effort.

Applicants are required to hold an NFQ level 8 Honours degree (minimum 2nd Class Honours Lower) or equivalent in a related science discipline.

Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be admitted on the basis of considerable relevant experience.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Assessments will be scheduled at times which vary over the trimester and will be submitted remotely through Brightspace. This will include individual written assignments and a group-based business case assignment. You will also contribute to a group presentation/pitch towards the end of the semester.

Individual feedback will be provided to you on written assignments. You will also receive feedback during the live online practical tutorials taken over the course of the trimester.

Please note: Learners can avail of only one form of funding per application. 

Micro-Credentials Learner Fee Subsidy-Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3

The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy has been introduced to enable more learners to address critical skills gaps and engage with lifelong learning through micro-credentials. The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy is funded by Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

HCI Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidies are available on identified micro-credentials only and in fixed numbers from March 2024 until October 2025.  

Please see Eligibility Criteria for further information.