The Teagasc authority approved an increase to the stipend for Walsh scholars to €25,000 at its board meeting this week.

The Teagasc 'Walsh Scholarships Programme' is a postgraduate programme for graduates to undertake postgraduate research in agriculture, food, environmental science, agri-food economics, rural development, horticulture and other related disciplines.

This decision means that all current and future Teagasc-funded Walsh scholars will receive an annual stipend of €25,000, plus a contribution towards the cost of their university fees up to a maximum of €6,000.

An independent national review of State supports for PhD researchers last May recommended increasing the level to €25,000.

Developing the next generation

According to Teagasc director Professor Frank O’Mara, the Walsh Scholarships Programme is one of the most important programmes in Teagasc.

"It develops the next generation of young researchers, as they pursue their post-graduate studies.

"It creates a flow of well-trained graduates up to doctoral level, thus providing high-calibre individuals to work in the agri-food and related sectors in Ireland and abroad," said Frank.

Head of research development and Walsh Scholarships in Teagasc Jane Kavanagh welcomed the decision: “The increased stipend will provide much-needed support for graduates to meet increased cost of living expenses as they pursue their PhD and masters qualifications.”

New rates will be implemented

Administrators of the Walsh Scholarships Programme in both Teagasc and the universities or technological universities will commence the task of implementing the new rates and it’s expected students will receive the increase in the March stipend. The stipends will be backdated to 1 January.

For Walsh scholars funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the increased stipends are being processed and it is expected the increase will be paid in the January stipend.

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