University College Cork (UCC) is debuting a level 9 employment-based programme with Kerry Group this coming academic year. The collaboration comes as UCC throws its dairy science net wider in a bid to bring more value into the dairy sector.
A recent consultation between UCC and the dairy processing sector has demonstrated a need for more specialists in dairy science. Addressing this need, the new MSc in Dairy Process Technology is a collaboration between Kerry Group and UCC to support the development of the next generation of scientific leaders in the industry.
“UCC has an internationally recognised reputation and track record for excellence in food, nutrition and health, which is one of the university’s most productive research areas,” says Professor Mairéad Kiely, head of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences.
We’re not producing enough dairy scientists in the country
“The recent appointment of new teaching and research staff to the dairy team at UCC underlines the university’s commitment to the single biggest sector of our agri-food industry, in helping it to meet its obligations set out in the recently published draft Agri-Food Strategy to 2030.”
The main target for the Agri-Food Strategy to 2030 is for Ireland to become a leader in sustainable food systems within the next decade.
“We’re not producing enough dairy scientists in the country and UCC is the only university producing dairy scientists,” says Dr Seamus O’Mahony, academic programme director at the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences.
Ireland needs to develop a leadership position in dairy production and processing sustainability and the dairy sector needs high-quality graduates if it is to continue to thrive
“We want to work even more closely with the primary and secondary dairy processing sector in building that pipeline of talent.
“The new master’s programme in Dairy Process Technology is one of a range of new initiatives designed to create greater access to life-long (and life-wide) learning opportunities for recent graduates and company employees in the dairy sector,” he continues. “Ireland needs to develop a leadership position in dairy production and processing sustainability and the dairy sector needs high-quality graduates if it is to continue to thrive,” says Seamus.
“All of the conversations in Ireland around dairying have been around volume and expansion since 2015,” he continues. “But now we’re at a point, and I would argue have been for a number of years, where our focus needs to shift to value creation.”
Seamus praises the rapid turnaround in which the course was created. “Our initial conversations about this programme started in January of this year and we were able to roll out the opportunity for our students in April to be starting in September,” he says. “It was a really quick turnaround on this, from the university working closely with Kerry Group.”
Two students will debut the course beginning in September, they are graduates of BSc (Hons) Food Science at UCC.
UCC has a strong history in dairy science, dating back to 1926. The university launched a postgraduate certificate in Dairy Technology and Innovation in 2016, followed by a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Teagasc in 2019. UCC’s leading programmes in Food Science and Nutritional Sciences provide top-quality graduates for the agri-food-nutrition sector.
Post-graduate dairy technology & innovation
UCC, in association with Teagasc, also offers a post-graduate certificate in Dairy Technology and Innovation. The course is delivered part time to suit students who are full-time employees of Irish and international dairy companies.
The modules on the post-graduate course are milk production and quality, dairy chemistry, trends and dynamics across dairy markets, dairy processing technology, dairy microbiology and business processes across the supply chain.
Candidates must be graduates of a primary honours degree (NFQ level 8) programme (or equivalent) in food science, nutritional sciences, agricultural sciences, microbiology, biochemistry, engineering or related biological sciences with a minimum second-class honours grade II, ideally with experience working in the dairy industry.
Holders of UCC’s Level 7 Diploma in Food Science and Technology with a minimum second-class honours grade I and a minimum of two years’ experience working in the dairy industry will also be eligible for admission.
We seriously hope that our national dairy companies, in addition to the Kerry Group will see the opportunity
The course is currently open for applications until places are filled and you can find more information on UCC School of Food and Nutritional Sciences website.
“Given the fact that we have eight to nine major dairy processors in Ireland, and three or four major secondary processors – we would expect that there is demand for between 10 and 15 of these people, every year,” says Seamus.
“We seriously hope that our national dairy companies, in addition to the Kerry Group will see the opportunity. This investment in dairy science education at the postgraduate level, is so important to be able to support sustainable growth and development of the dairy sector,” he adds.