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Dr Tom Walsh Centenary Lecture

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Dr Tom Walsh, whose vision and dynamism led to the development of An Foras Taluntais (predecessor of Teagasc) as a world-class research institute and which laid the foundation for the success of Ireland’s agri-food industry. Under his inspired leadership, a cohort of young scientists engaged in pioneering research which was not only published in the best international scientific journals, but which also found application right across all aspects of Irish farming and rural life.

To mark the occasion, Teagasc has organised ‘The Dr Tom Walsh Centenary lecture’, which is being delivered in Johnstown Castle, Wexford, today, Friday, 5 December. The lecture is being given by Professor John Ryan on the ‘Evolution and Achievements of Irish Soil Science’. Professor Ryan is himself an internationally distinguished soil scientist and was the recipient of the prestigious International Service in Agronomy Award for 2004 from the American Society of Agronomy. Professor Ryan is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, recipient of the International Soil Science Award, and Distinguished Citizen of the University of Arizona.

Professor Ryan said: “The development of agriculture in the 1950’s relied heavily on soils science led by Dr Tom Walsh. Soil Science is once again a corner stone for the further development of the agricultural industry and challenges in Food Harvest 2020.”

Speaking in Johnstown Castle today, which coincides with the FAO World Soils Day, Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Dr Walsh had a global vision of agriculture, which was reflected in the schemes he put in place for the training of young Irish scientists in universities and research institutes in the US, New Zealand and the UK. Today, through the Walsh Fellowships Postgraduate Programme, Teagasc continues to honour this aspect of Dr Walsh’s contribution to the development of generations of Irish scientists.”

Walsh Fellowship Seminar

The annual Teagasc Walsh Fellowships Seminar is also taking place in Johnstown Castle today. The Fellowships Programme, named in honour of Dr Walsh, has grown in scale and significance since it was launched in Johnstown in 1995. Up to 2,000 postgraduate students have participated in the scheme over the past twenty years. The Walsh Fellowships is one of the largest postgraduate schemes in Ireland, providing research opportunities for significant numbers of high calibre graduates.

Eighteen Walsh Fellows presented their research findings at the seminar with an additional 17 Fellows presenting posters.

This year's winner of the Walsh Fellowships seminar and winner of the RDS medal is Mary Harty a native of Co. Kerry for her presentation on Nitrogen fertiliser formulation: the impact on yield and gaseous emissions.

The winner of the best poster was Conor Murphy

The Institute of Food Science and Technology Ireland (IFSTI) medal was presented to Aidan Casey for the best food science and technology presentation.