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Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference

Scottish and Irish rural areas face many similar challenges, not least of which is the potential impact of Brexit. A jointly organised conference between SRUC, (Scotland’s Rural College) and Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) is taking place in Edinburgh, today, Tuesday 13 March, and will focus on how the two organisations, working together, can identify solutions and help create new opportunities for rural economies.

Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference
Wayne Powell, Principal and CEO, SRUC addressing attendees at the Teagasc SRUC Conference

A jointly organised conference between SRUC, (Scotland’s Rural College) and Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) is taking place in Edinburgh, today, Tuesday 13 March, and will focus on how the two organisations, working together, can identify solutions and help create new opportunities for rural economies.

Scottish and Irish rural areas face many similar challenges, not least of which is the potential impact of Brexit. A jointly organised conference between SRUC, (Scotland’s Rural College) and Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) is taking place in Edinburgh, today, Tuesday 13 March, and will focus on how the two organisations, working together, can identify solutions and help create new opportunities for rural economies.

Recognising that rural regions need to be innovative in order to share prosperity in an increasingly globalised economy and respond to societal challenges, the focus of the conference will be on building innovative and competitive rural economies that will contribute to national economic and social well-being. It is hoped that the event will help build greater public awareness of the potential of rural areas and resources to deliver on a wide range of economic, social, and environmental challenges and opportunities benefitting all citizens of Ireland and Scotland.

Speaking at the conference, Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director, said: “It is important to highlight that new opportunities for rural areas will not be just confined to traditional sectors. New digital and other areas of science and technology will create opportunities for agri-food. The development of new technologies for the use and transformation of bio-materials has opened up a wide range of potential new economic opportunities for rural areas. Markets for new bio-based products, for biofuels, green chemicals and biomaterials are projected to grow. They have a real contribution to make to the rural economy. Investing in growing these domains creates opportunities in many sectors, more highly skilled jobs, more competitive and sustainable rural economies, as well as openings into new markets”.

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and CEO, SRUC said: “This is a timely meeting focusing on the rural economy at a point when we are going through massive changes in the expectations of government, farmers, industry and society more generally as to how we use our land to deliver a range of both public and private goods. Behavioural and culture change alongside the adoption of new disruptive science and technology will be of paramount importance.  SRUC stands ready and willing to lead and help all our stakeholders through this period of dramatic change.”

Also speaking at the conference, Professor Frank O’Mara, Director of Research in Teagasc, said: “To realise this potential, investment will be required in new technologies, new business models, new models for the organisation of supply chains and value chains, as well as new policies and infrastructures. International research collaboration will be essential to help realise these opportunities. The existing strong links between SRUC and Teagasc can be further developed to address the required new and pluralist research agenda.”

Teagasc - SRUC Conference 2018 Presentations