Teagasc and the European Commission will co-fund a new programme which will employ 20 new experienced researchers for 36 months each, over the next five years. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of agri-food research leaders to underpin the objectives of Ireland’s Food Wise 2025 strategy.
This new programme, which will launch in Spring 2018, offers applicants the opportunity to conduct their research in the best academic, or non-academic, organisation of their choice worldwide (outside of Ireland) for 18 months, followed by a return phase to Teagasc (Ireland) for a further 18 months.
The programme will have a total value of €5.2 million and will have two funding calls; each funding 10 fellowships (total 20 fellowships). Each fellowship will last 36 months. There will be a strong focus on the career development of the researchers, with all fellows undertaking an accredited management course, having a dedicated career mentor (separate to their scientific supervisors) and attending an annual retreat with presentations from established research leaders in industry, academia and civil society organisations.
This programme will also address the “leaky pipeline” whereby many promising female researchers do not achieve senior positions. An International Expert Advisory Board will review all documentation for the programme to ensure that there is no unintended bias. Remote review cohorts and the final review panel will be gender balanced. A dedicated section of the website will highlight positive reasons for female researchers to apply for the fellowship. Successful female applicants will be facilitated in finding a senior female researcher to serve as a career mentor.
The fellowship programme will be operated by Teagasc, the Irish agriculture, and food development authority. With an annual budget of €190 million, Teagasc combines excellent research in the areas of food and agriculture, with a dedicated farmer extension/advisory service, and a department dedicated to technology transfer to the food industry. The Teagasc annual research portfolio comprises some 350 research projects, carried out by 500 scientific and technical staff in seven research centres throughout Ireland. Research is organised into four programme areas Animal and Grassland; Crops, Environment and Land Use; Food; and Rural Economy and Development. Teagasc researchers have access to more than 1,250 hectares of experimental farm, cutting-edge research laboratories and strong industry partnerships.
Speaking about the new programme, Professor Frank O’Mara said: “Teagasc is very excited to announce this programme and looks forward to applications from excellent researchers who will work in the best research environments worldwide and then bring that experience and expertise back to Teagasc. This represents a major investment for Teagasc in the future and the next generation of leaders in agri-food research and innovation”.
Full details on the fellowships can be found on the Teagasc website at www.teagasc.ie/rl2025
Interested researchers can sign up for updates between now and the formal launch of the programme in spring 2018.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754380.