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Getting to know Philip Creighton

Research Officer Philip Creighton currently leads the Sheep Grassland Systems research programme at Teagasc Athenry. Here, he explains the influence his sheep farming background had on him and what he enjoys most about grassland research.

Where did your interest in agricultural science stem from?

For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in farming and agriculture and wanted to work within the industry. Studying agricultural science at university allowed me to develop the skills and knowledge needed to achieve this.

I come from a sheep farming background, so I wanted to pursue a PhD that would allow me to develop skills relevant to the sheep industry. Teagasc had a strong grassland research programme with PhD opportunities available when I was finishing my undergraduate degree in 2008, so I applied. Thankfully, I was successful!

Why have you chosen to build your career at Teagasc?

I have been fortunate to meet and learn from some very good people at Teagasc. Having the opportunity to work on relevant areas of study, but also being involved in knowledge transfer through collaboration with our advisory colleagues, makes Teagasc a unique place to work.

Why have you chosen to focus on grassland in your research?

Grassland research is very varied. It provides opportunities to work on impacting many different areas of agriculture, including animal nutrition, economics and environmental sustainability.

Why did you establish the Sheep Research Demonstration Farm at Athenry?

It was set up to enable researchers to carry out detailed research on grassland systems for sheep. This allows us to expand our knowledge base and to act as a focal point for knowledge transfer activities for the sheep sector. It is very important that the industry can come in and see research as it happens and be involved in the process.

What has been a highlight of your career so far?

I was appointed as Teagasc’s new Sheep Enterprise Leader last year, which is a great opportunity for me to continue to develop the Teagasc Sheep Research programme.