New €4.8m hub to boost agritech innovation and research in Ireland

6 Dec 2022

Plans for the new development. Image: UCD

The UCD development will focus on ‘innovation, entrepreneurship and outreach’ in the areas of agriculture, food and veterinary medicine.

University College Dublin (UCD) has begun construction of a €4.8m development that will focus on agritech innovation and veterinary research.

The facility will incorporate the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre and the UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub. It will be based at UCD Lyons Farm, a 250-hectare research and teaching farm in Co Kildare.

Funding is being provided by Enterprise Ireland, UCD and a philanthropic donation from veterinary pharma company Bimeda.

Prof Alex Evans from UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science said the development represents a new phase in the university’s “commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and outreach” in the areas of agriculture, food and veterinary medicine.

“This farm-based facility will co-locate educators, researchers, innovators and service providers in a single location, allowing them to work together on enhancing Ireland’s capabilities and progress in agricultural and veterinary sciences,” he added.

The AgTechUCD Innovation Centre will help accelerate early-stage start-ups and SMEs that are innovating in the agritech, agrifood and veterinary spaces.

AgTechUCD already runs an annual accelerator programme for Irish start-ups, which is now in its second year.

Niamh Collins, director of the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre, said the new facility will provide access to offices, lab space and food processing facilities, while facilitating introductions to VCs, business angels, mentors and corporate partners.

“As the only on-farm workspace hub in Ireland focused on promoting and accelerating agri-businesses and start-ups, the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre will assist client companies to access on-farm experimental facilities, enabling them to test and trial products and services in a real-world environment,” she added.

Meanwhile, the new UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub will provide a national facility for dairy herd health education, research and consultancy.

Prof Michael Doherty, head of the UCD School of Veterinary Science, said it would allow for research collaboration with industry partner Bimeda while supporting training for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Construction of the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre and the UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub is expected to be completed towards the end of 2023.

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.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic