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Research Impact Highlights - General

Raising awareness of farm data

Áine Regan and Claire Brown (REDP)

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

Good data governance is essential to protect farmers and enable them to gain maximum benefits from data sharing. It’s important for farmers to be aware of data shared from their farm, and to ensure they understand their rights with regards to data ownership and control.

AgriDISCRETE carried out multi-actor workshops to identify challenges and solutions for good data governance. ‘Data awareness’ was a recurring theme in the workshops: lack of understanding on use, ownership, and sharing of farm data was a concern in the farming community. In response, the project team worked with agricultural stakeholders to co-design farmer-friendly communications detailing the farm data journey.

An infographic leaflet and poster and animated video were produced, outlining the data journey on and off the farm, with the goal of raising data awareness to empower farmers to learn more about data collecting and sharing on their farm for maximum benefit. Communications resources have been distributed within farm advisory offices and at open days, and adapted for specific use in other data-sharing contexts. The work done has informed training programmes for SkillNet Ireland and was utilised during the launch of the Teagasc Climate Action Strategy.

Contact: aine.regan@teagasc.ie
Other contributors: Walton Institute for Information and Communication Systems Science, SETU; RIKON Research Centre, SETU.
Funding: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Impact Pathway: Technology Development & Adoption; Capacity Building; Policy Influencing. 

Interactive innovation to develop creative solutions

Áine Macken-Walsh (REDP)

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

Interactive innovation is a process where different actors (scientists, farmers, advisors, industry, NGOs) work together to deliver new solutions and opportunities. Examples are EIP-AGRI, Horizon Europe & EU LIFE projects. Because interactive innovation is dynamic and varies substantially from context to context, standard KPIs are ineffective. A versatile evaluation and impact assessment toolbox is required to assess and enhance interactive innovation processes and impacts.

Social science knowledge – focusing on human collaborative relationships, equality and power distribution, transdisciplinarity, etc.— was employed to identify effective approaches for assessing the processes and impacts of interactive innovation. Teagasc led an EU consortia of social scientists to engage with end-users on the ground to trial these approaches in diverse projects across the EU. As a result of the trialling process (co-design), the Social Readiness Level (the likelihood of wide adoption) of the approaches was optimised.

A toolbox was produced to effectively evaluate and assess processes impacts of interactive innovation. It has been used to date in over 30 projects across the EU (within and outside of the original work programme), and has been translated from English into French, German, Spanish, Polish and Italian.

Contact: aine.mackenwalsh@teagasc.ie
Other contributors: Forschungsinstitutfür Biologischen Landbau Stiftung; Universidad Politécnica de Madrid – Planning and Evaluation Group; Groupe de Bruges.
Funding: LIAISON, European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, grant agreement No. 773418.
Impact Pathway: Technology Development & Adoption; Capacity Building; Policy Influencing.

[pic credit] Andrew Downes

Examining impact of farm support reform

Fiona Thorne, Trevor Donnellan and Kevin Hanrahan (REDP)

Research Impact Highlights in 2022


The EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) is about food, the environment and the countryside. CAP is a partnership between society and agriculture that ensures a stable food supply, safeguards farmers’ income, protects the environment and keeps rural areas vibrant. Teagasc examined the economic implications at farm level of CAP reform implementation options for Pillar I of the CAP, which covers direct support and market supports, (whereas Pillar 2 covers rural development supports).

Teagasc prepared a report examining the impact on the distribution of Pillar I direct payment income supports, family farm income and agricultural output of a number of defined CAP reform implementation options, agreed with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) officials, using data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey.

The research concluded that there would not be a significant change in the number of economically viable farms viable as a result of the Pillar I CAP reform, outlined in the CAP Strategic Plan for Ireland. The results were used to inform policy negotiation by DAFM in the design of the CAP Strategic Plan, which will support the development of Ireland’s agriculture sector for 2023-2027.

Substantial stakeholder involvement contributed to the project via data assumptions. DAFM provided administrative data used in defining the policy assumptions necessary for the analysis. Dissemination of the results of this research was supported by Teagasc Knowledge Transfer colleagues, the media and DAFM officials.

Contact: fiona.thorne@teagasc.ie
Other contributors: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Funding: Teagasc.
Impact Pathway: Policy Influencing. 

[pic credit] Andrii Yalansky/ shutterstock.com

Impact of Teagasc research publications

Compiled by Máire Caffrey (Research Directorate) 

Teagasc uses two main approaches to identify the impact of its research: science excellence and societal impact. Science excellence focuses on peer-reviewed publications and their indicators of quality, while societal impact focuses on understanding the pathways through which such science is put into use and the changes it helps to bring about in society. Throughout this publication, we have identified the impact pathways for each of the featured research impacts.

Peer-reviewed publications

Measuring the impact of our research is a key activity for Teagasc. One method we use is to track and monitor the number of articles in scientific journals authored by Teagasc researchers. Another strategy involves tracking how many times these articles are cited by other journal articles.

There are a number of resources available providing these citation counts and other metrics. Teagasc uses Scopus, and its accompanying research evaluation tool SciVal1. Teagasc annually compares the performance of Teagasc articles (at least one author affiliated to Teagasc) to that of other relevant Research Performing Organisations for publications in a rolling six-year period.

Publication and citation patterns vary considerably across subject areas. Therefore, when using publication counts or citation-based metrics, comparisons within subject categories are the most meaningful. To place our performance in a national context, we can compare Teagasc’s performance with that of Irish universities, within three relevant subject categories: (a) the broad category of Agricultural & Biological Sciences, and two narrower categories (b) Food Science, and (c) Agronomy & Crop Science. Citation counts are merely a snapshot in time, as citations are constantly accumulating. The metrics shown are from SciVal as per April 2023.

Comparing Teagasc with the Irish universities for 2017 to 2022, in the SciVal broad category of Agricultural & Biological Sciences, Teagasc published the second highest number of articles, and had the second highest overall citation count (Figure 1). For the narrower category Food Science (Figure 2), Teagasc had the highest overall number of articles and second highest number of citations; for Agronomy & Crop Science (Figure 3), Teagasc had the highest overall number of articles and citations.

The strong international and national reputation of Teagasc research is demonstrated by the fact that for 2017 to 2022, 55% of the Teagasc peer-reviewed articles indexed by SciVal listed international collaborators, with a further 39% listing national collaborators.

Of course, all bibliometric analysis must be placed in context and the impact of our research must be evaluated in a variety of other ways in order to give the full picture.

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

Figure 1: Number of papers by Teagasc and Irish universities that are indexed in Scopus category Agricultural & Biological Sciences (2017-2022).

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

Figure 2: Number of papers by Teagasc and Irish universities that are indexed in Scopus category Food Science (2017-2022).

Research Impact Highlights in 2022

Figure 3: Number of papers by Teagasc and Irish universities that are indexed in Scopus category Agronomy & Crop Science (2017-2022).

Impacts from technology development and adoption by industry of Teagasc research outputs

Compiled by Karen Dawson, Siobhán Jordan and Miriam Walsh (Research Directorate)

Teagasc research contributes to impact in the agri-food sector in a range of ways from influencing policy to delivering societal and economic impacts. With the need to show return from investing public money in scientific research, there is significant emphasis when applying for funding on considering the potential impact from research outputs as well as the need to promote successful impact stories to a range of audiences. 

Innovation and transformation of the agri-food sector

Technology development and adoption builds the capacity of the agri-food sector to innovate and transform. Technology Transfer Offices, such as Engage@Teagasc, are key functions in the research management/professional services of universities and research performing organisations, which support researchers in driving economic impact, through facilitating transfer of research, technologies and knowledge to industry. Engage@Teagasc contributes directly to the long-term impact of Teagasc research by providing a focal point through which industry partners can engage with Teagasc research and technologies. These engagements are in line with the Teagasc Together strategy delivering on our commitments in digitalisation and sustainability for the Irish Agri-Food sector.

By enabling its researchers to collaborate with industry and enabling industry to gain competitive advantage through licensing intellectual property (IP) resulting from Teagasc research, we facilitate the delivery of end-user ready solutions needed to provide societal and economic impacts both now and into the future.

Many of the case studies in this publication demonstrate innovation and transformation of the agri-food sector in action. By careful management of IP, collaborative research and/or licensing of IP to industry for commercial exploitation demonstrable impacts for society can be achieved, including job creation, new products/processes launched to market and cost efficiencies for the end users.

Research Impact Highlights in 2022