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Dr Karl Richards appointed Head of Teagasc Climate Centre

Teagasc has appointed Dr Karl Richards as Head of the Teagasc Climate Centre. The Teagasc Authority approved the appointment at its meeting last week. Dr Richards has been acting head of the Teagasc Climate Centre, since December 2022, when the Teagasc Climate Action Strategy was launched. The Climate Centre is one of the key pillars of the Teagasc Climate Action Strategy.

Karl RichardsDr Richards graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Degree in Natural Sciences. Karl also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Statistics at Trinity College, before completing a PhD in Environmental Geology.

Karl joined Teagasc in 2002 as a Biogeochemistry Research Officer, at Johnstown Castle, where subsequently he was promoted to Principal Research Officer. He led a team of researchers in the area of nitrogen cycling including the impact of management practices on reducing Nitrogen losses (nitrous oxide, nitrate leaching and ammonia). He has published extensively on measures to reduce nitrous oxide and nitrate emissions, including leading the protected urea research that commenced in 2012.

In 2012 he was appointed Head of the Teagasc Environment, Soils and Land-use research Department. He expanded  the environment research programme, including a dramatic increase in competitive research funding and increased scientific publication and impact. He instigated the development of the National Agricultural Sustainability Research and Innovation Centre (NASRIC), which involves €12.7 million investment building new laboratories at Johnstown Castle. He led the modernisation and expansion of the research facilities including the establishment of the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory (NASCO) and the National Soil Greenhouse Gas testing facility.

While in an acting capacity as Head of the Teagasc Climate Centre since last December, Dr Richards commenced the establishment of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the Climate Centre, which included identifying key research gaps, recruiting key staff, establishing the governance structure and the publication of the new Teagasc MACC (Marginal Abatement Cost Curve) in July of this year.

The Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O Mara congratulated Dr Richards on his appointment, saying; “Karl brings a wealth of research experience to this role and has a strong track record in research collaboration nationally and internationally, and in publishing research in peer reviewed journals. The Teagasc Climate Centre will lead and co-ordinate climate research and innovation both within Teagasc and nationally. It will greatly facilitate the Irish agriculture sector in meeting its national commitments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing biodiversity.”

Professor Pat Dillon, Director of Research in Teagasc, said; “Farming is facing environmental challenges in relation to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water quality, enhancing biodiversity on farms while at the same time improving the living standards of practicing farmers. The Teagasc Climate Centre led by Karl, with additional resources will provide the technologies required to address the climate and biodiversity challenges.”