National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Teagasc have joined in partnership as demand increases for the new BSc in Agricultural Science which was introduced in 2021.

In its first year at NUIG, the course attracted over 500 applicants and is the only Level 8 degree on offer.

Teagasc aims to bring a strong focus on animal science, farm management and Knowledge Transfer (KT) to the course.

Students will also benefit from this partnership as they will now gain access to expertise and facilities located at Teagasc’s Mellows campus in Athenry.

Ag and the growing population

Director or Teagasc, Professor Frank O’Mara said: “Globally, we face a challenge to feed a population that is projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050.

“To meet this challenge, the agri-food sector and agricultural professionals need a strong agronomic and environmental knowledge base to address the challenge of producing safe, nutritious food products, while minimising impacts on the environment.”

Head of animal bioscience research at Teagasc Professor David Kenny said that students will be exposed to the latest Teagasc and international scientific information on technologies.

This, he said, will allow them “to advance animal health and welfare, augment the nutritional value of livestock derived food products, improve nutrient use and labour efficiency and ultimately ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of livestock farming”.

Programme co-director Professor Cathal O’Donoghue of NUIG and former Teagasc head of rural economy welcomed the collaboration and said: “The Teagasc-NUIG partnership brings together NUIG’s expertise in agricultural sustainability, bioeconomy and rural development with Teagasc’s expertise in animal science, farm management and KT, to create a unique programme that prepares the agri-food leaders of the future to help deliver on the opportunities of the sector in an increasingly complex world.”

Other announcement news

NUIG also announced the appointment of associate Professor David Styles to the university and to the degree programme team, bringing to the fore his knowledge in sustainable agriculture.

Styles in particular has extensive knowledge of carbon accounting and bioeconomy innovations and over-seeing the development of the skills, tools and critical systems thinking necessary for the graduates of this exciting degree to navigate the challenging transition towards climate neutral farming.

Programme co-director and director of the Ryan Institute at NUIG Professor Charlie Spillane said that the new degree programme is very relevant to NUIG’s new strategy in terms of sustainability.

“At undergraduate level, it is a key component of the NUIG and Teagasc research and education alliance on carbon-neutral agriculture which was established between the institutions in 2016 and will contribute to the agriculture and bioeconomy theme within the sustainability mission of the Ryan Institute at NUIG,” Spillane said.

With the CAO closing date coming up shortly, prospective teachers, students and farm families are encouraged to check out the Level 8 honours degree on the NUIG website.