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Getting to know Michael Gaffney

Michael Gaffney works in Teagasc’s Horticultural Development Department in Dublin. Here, we find out more about Michael and his interests inside and outside of work.

Hi Michael. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m a Senior Research Officer at Teagasc and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Agriculture and Food at University College Dublin (UCD). I’m also a father of five!

What is your educational background?

I graduated from Maynooth University (BSc) with a degree in Biology and completed a PhD at UCD. My PhD was funded through the Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme, with collaboration from Bord na Móna. 

What does your career path within Teagasc look like?

In 2002 I started an 18-month MSc research project with Teagasc and UCD, developing fungi to control insect pests that could be incorporated into growing media. This evolved into a PhD as the project progressed. In 2007 I briefly moved to the University of Wales for a project before returning to Teagasc as a Specialised Horticultural Advisor within the newly formed Horticultural Development Unit. In 2013 I became a Research Officer with responsibility for Horticultural Agronomy and Entomology.

What does your current work include?

The development and testing of integrated pest management solutions, including the creation of electronic decision support and advanced crop monitoring tools. I am also involved in cross-departmental research on food safety in horticultural produce.

What’s a professional achievement you’re proud of?

One of the great aspects of working with an organisation like Teagasc is working closely with growers and seeing research being conducted and applied on commercial farms. We have conducted monitoring for an invasive insect on commercial farms and assisted growers in changing their practices to help manage this pest. Doing that has been very rewarding.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

With a young family spare time can be hard to come by, but I am a keen rugby supporter and still referee in the Leinster Senior Leagues occasionally.