UCD has a new €4.8m agritech research facility

26 Oct 2023

From left: Tom Flanagan, Donal Tierney, Helen Roche, Minister Simon Coveney, TD, Dan Tierney and Carol Gibbons. Image: Paul Sherwood

The facility aims to give students access to ‘cutting-edge’ technology and be a hub to support start-ups and SMEs in the agritech sector.

University College Dublin (UCD) has officially opened a new facility that aims to boost education, entrepreneurship and innovation in the agritech sector.

The new €4.8m facility is based at UCD Lyons Farm in Kildare, which contains 250 hectares of farmland that is used for research and teaching purposes. The new centre includes labs, meeting rooms, offices and space for exhibitions and seminars.

The new facility incorporates the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre and the UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub. Construction of the facility began last year, while funding for it came from Enterprise Ireland, UCD and veterinary pharma company Bimeda.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, TD, said the new facilities will give thousands of students access to “cutting-edge research and technology”.

“In addition, both facilities will host and nurture the next generation of Irish agtech start-ups, ensuring our global reputation in this sector goes from strength to strength,” Coveney said.

The UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub aims to become a national facility for dairy herd health education, research and consultancy. Meanwhile, the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre aims to accelerate early-stage start-ups and SMEs that are innovating in the agritech and veterinary sectors.

UCD said business clients will be able to use the centre’s experimental facilities to test their products and services in a real-world farming environment.

Enterprise Ireland’s regions and local enterprise manager Carol Gibbons said the “state-of-the-art” facility will promote “talent and innovation in the Irish agtech sector”.

“This facility will become a focal point for Irish agtech, providing new entrepreneurs with the support, guidance and collaboration they require to bring their ideas to the next level and start ambitious agtech companies,” Gibbons said. “It has been a pleasure to work with UCD and other partners on this project and we are excited about its potential in the years ahead.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic