Minister Heydon marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science
On the 9th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Research and Development, Martin Heydon, T.D., has taken the opportunity to recognise the role of Women and Girls in Science in Agriculture and to highlight the need for a diverse range of research talent to contribute to Ireland's ambition to be a world leader in sustainable food systems.
"The role of women in science is central to achieving the aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the conclusions of the UN Food Systems Summit."
Marking the day, the Minister said:
“The theme of International Day of Women and Girls in Science is ‘Women in Science Leadership: A new Era for Sustainability’. My Department endeavours to provide full and equal access and participation to female scientists under its research funding programme which itself has a strong focus on sustainability.”
Under the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Thematic Research Call 2023, just over €24 million was awarded to 20 research projects across the agri-food, forest and bioeconomy sectors with a significant number of projects led by female scientists.
One project worth €1.036 million was awarded to a research consortium led by Prof. Olivia McAuliffe, a Principal Research Officer in Teagasc. Entitled ‘Uncovering Protein Potential via Fermentation Technology (UPLIFT)’, it aims to develop the next generation of nutritious, safe and sustainable protein-based foods through the application of fermentation technologies to Irish grown crops including cereals, legumes and tubers. As well as Teagasc, the consortium also involves TU Dublin and University College Cork.
On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Prof McAuliffe commented that:
‘‘The role of women in science is central to achieving the aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the conclusions of the UN Food Systems Summit. We know that there is a long-standing under-representation of women in science so this International Day is critically important in helping to address this and to inspire women and girls to consider pursuing a career in science. I hope the fact that seven of the ten Principal Investigators in our research consortium are women will demonstrate that there are huge opportunities for women to participate in and lead major scientific research projects, directly contributing to developing the next generation of solutions and technologies which will improve the sustainability of our food system and our planet.”
Minister Heydon concluded:
‘‘If we are to deliver on the ambition to have a globally sustainable food system it requires harnessing the extensive range of talents available from a diverse pool of researchers. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I believe the leadership of Prof McAuliffe and others will act to inspire and encourage all young women to consider a career in scientific research which is essential to securing a well-functioning and sustainable society and environment .’’