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Walsh Fellowship Seminar

Each year, the Teagasc Walsh Fellowships Seminar takes place in the RDS, Dublin, to provide a platform for the best young researchers to showcase the results of their research and to recognise the outstanding achievements of the best young scientists working in the agri-food areas.

This year's winner of the Teagasc Walsh Fellowships seminar and winner of the RDS medal is Sean Cummins, who presented a paper on 'The effect of genetic merit for fertility on reproductive efficiency’. The study emphasises the importance of genetic selection for fertility as a vital strategy to alleviate reproductive wastage, and achieve the desired expansion of the national herd highlighted in the Food Harvest 2020 report. Sean Cummins is a Teagasc Walsh Fellow at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation centre, Moorepark, supervised by Pat Lonergan and Alex Evans from UCD and Stephen Butler, Teagasc.

A President’s medal from The Institute of Food Science and Technology Ireland (IFSTI) was presented to the best food science and technology presentation. This was won by Eoin Murphy, for his presentation entitled: 'Re-engineering infant formula manufacture'.  The energy savings results of the process could help maintain the economical and environmental sustainability of the infant formula industry in Ireland into the future. Eoin Murphy is a Teagasc Walsh Fellow at the Teagasc Food Research centre, Moorepark.  His supervisors are Yrjo H.Roos from UCC and John Tobin and Mark Fenelon from Teagasc. The medal was presented by IFSTI council member Charles Lamb.

This year for the first time there was an award for the best three-minute presentation at the seminar and this was won by Gareth Burns for his presentation on ‘Implementing quality parameters for ryegrass into a national variety evaluation scheme.’ The output of this study allows DAFM to routinely provide digestibility and water soluble carbohydrate information to Irish farmers through the annual recommended list publication. Gareth Burns is a Walsh Fellow at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation centre in Grange and at Queen’s University Belfast. His supervisors are Trevor Gilliland from the Agri Food and Bioscience Institute in County Down, Dermot Grogan from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and Padraig O’ Kiely, Teagasc.

The winner of the best poster was Joseph Lynch, for his poster on ‘Manipulating the ensilage of maize conserved as whole crop, cob or stover.’  The results of the study highlight the potential to improve maize silage yields and nutritive value through reduced ensiling losses, which may increase the efficiency of the forage’s production system. Joseph Lynch is a Walsh Fellow at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Grange. His supervisors are Padraig O’ Kiely, Teagasc and Evelyn Doyle, UCD.

Delivering the keynote address to the Walsh Fellowship seminar, Professor Maurice Boland, UCD, said that Teagasc and UCD are at an advanced stage of agreeing a National Agricultural Research, Education and Innovation Partnership between the two organisations. This will formalise and strengthen what is already being done and will build on the expertise and the amount of collaboration that is ongoing between UCD and Teagasc.

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said; “Through the Walsh Fellowship scheme, both UCD and Teagasc have an interest in 4th level education, focused on innovation for the agri-food industry.” He stressed the importance for all those working in the research space to have clear lines of communication into industry.

The Walsh Fellowship seminar is part of Teagasc’s Science Week activities and the theme of this year’s seminar was ‘The Walsh Fellowship Scheme's contribution to delivering the vision for the agri-food sector outlined in the Food Harvest 2020 report.’