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New Key Appointments at Teagasc

The Teagasc Authority at its meeting today, Wednesday, 7 July at Oak Park approved the appointment of Dr Noel Culleton as Head of Programme for Crops, Environment and Land Use, and Dr Cathal O’Donoghue as Head of Programme for Rural Economy and Development.

As part of its Change Programme, Teagasc is combining the research functions of Oak Park and Johnstown Castle into a single programme encompassing the work of crops, environment and land use and also including horticulture and forestry. Dr Culleton in his new role will provide leadership, strategic management and direction, ensuring integration in the research and knowledge transfer programmes across the different sites. Working closely with Teagasc advisory and education services, the synergies in the new integrated structure will enhance effectiveness in programme delivery. Dr. Culleton will also work closely with external stakeholders to ensure effective partnership and with the other Teagasc programme areas. New Heads of Departments will shortly be appointed to lead in the areas of Tillage Crop Agronomy, Soils and Environment, and Horticulture.

Dr Culleton graduated from University College Dublin with a first-class honours BAgrSc in 1974 and followed with a MAgrSc in 1975 and PhD in 1987. He joined An Foras Talúntais in 1980 as a researcher at Johnstown Castle. His research work involved many aspects of soil and plant nutrition as well as grassland management. Speaking at the announcement Dr Culleton said: “This new programme will help Teagasc focus on the many challenges facing the tillage, horticulture and forestry sectors. Teagasc is determined to use all its resources to deliver effective solutions to the many problems that confront our stakeholders.”

Dr Cathal O’Donoghue assumes responsibility for the Rural Economy and Development Programme. This new Programme will create a powerful unit with the critical mass to deliver significant benefit to the Irish agri-food sector and to be internationally competitive in scientific terms.

Dr O’Donoghue graduated from UCC in 1992 and has graduate degrees from Oxford, UCD and the London School of Economics. His research work involved simulation modelling of the impact of economic change and public policy. Responding to the announcement Dr O’Donoghue said: “Profitability of our farming sectors is under pressure. Teagasc needs to use all our resources to deliver effective analysis and business planning support to our stakeholder, and policy analysis on key issues. We must also identify rural development options that can assist farm families to enhance their incomes, and support them in availing of these opportunities.”

Congratulating both appointees, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said: “These Head of Programme appointments are in line with the Teagasc Change Programme and the organisation’s new four programme-led research structures of Food; Animal and Grassland; Crops, Environment & Land Use; and Rural Economy and Development. Specialist advisers and researchers and in each of the programme areas will work closely with industry and through national and international research networks, to generate and apply new knowledge for the benefit of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry.”