University College Dublin (UCD) today announced that applications are now open for a new food and agriculture innovation and entrepreneurship training programme, commencing this September, to be delivered by the University in partnership with Teagasc.

There are only fifteen (15) places available on the 12-month, in-person Food and Agriculture Sustainable Technology Innovation Programme (FAST-IP), which is aimed at mid-career professionals.

FAST-IP will provide participants with a €38,000 tax-free scholarship during the programme.

The goal of FAST-IP is to further enhance innovation in the food and agricultural sector by providing programme participants with the necessary skills to evaluate, select and validate ideas for new products and services and to accelerate the commercialisation pathway.

FAST-IP will use design-thinking methodologies and will have a practical focus. Through the programme, participants will learn how to conduct needs-led innovation to develop market-validated solutions to unmet needs in the areas of agricultural technology and food sustainability sectors. Participants will also spend 8-10 weeks immersed in agricultural environments including farms and food processing companies throughout the year long programme.

FAST-IP is accredited by UCD at Level 9 on the National Qualifications Framework and participants who complete the programme will be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

FAST-IP will be delivered by the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, in partnership with Teagasc, at the newly opened AgTechUCD Innovation Centre at UCD Lyons Farm in Co. Kildare.

Professor Nick Holden, Professor of Biosystems Engineering in the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, is the Academic Director of the Graduate Diploma Programme.

Gary Ryan, Director, AgTechUCD, said, “The success of FAST-IP will depend to a great extent on attracting the right mix of high calibre individuals to the programme. FAST-IP is designed to cater for mid-career individuals who have accumulated significant professional experience to date and who are now interested in pivoting towards an entrepreneurial journey based on the development of an innovative technology that will support sustainable practices in the agricultural and food sectors.

A fundamental underpinning of the programme is that participants will come to it with an open mind as to potential innovations and without any preconceived biases towards an existing idea that they might like to explore. The programme is based around discovering real world needs through exposure to industry environments in the agfood supply chain and bringing innovative solutions to bear on such needs in a commercially viable manner.”

He added, “I would encourage anybody meeting the programme criteria and with an interest in building a business that will deliver innovative solutions in support of sustainable agri and food sectors to engage with the process as early as possible. Interest is already high and is likely to build even further in the coming weeks.”

Dr Siobhán Jordan, Head of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, Teagasc, said, “Enhancing entrepreneurship and innovation in the food and agricultural sector to deliver impacts nationally and globally requires multi-disciplinary approaches from engineering to marketing from food science to ICT. The FAST-IP programme delivered by UCD and Teagasc will enable participants to deliver new solutions for the longer term sustainability of the agri-food sector.”

UCD and Teagasc, with strong reputations for academic and research excellence in the areas of Sustainable Food Systems, Agriculture, and Food Science, will utilise their extensive networks, connections, domain expertise, entrepreneurial experience, and track-record for supporting, fostering and spinning out start-ups over the next 6 years of the programme.

The AgTechUCD Innovation Centre, which is part of NovaUCD, is focused on promoting and accelerating early-stage start-ups and SMEs with disruptive innovations in the agri, agtech, agrifood, equine and veterinary sectors, as they build their innovative businesses into leading enterprises creating jobs.

The FAST-IP programme, running until the end of 2029, forms part of Enterprise Ireland’s Innovators’ Initiative which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

FAST-IP, supported under the Innovators’ Initiative Programme, is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme 2021-2027.

UCD and Teagasc are partnering with FRS Recruitment to recruit participants for the FAST-IP programme starting this September.

For further information and to apply for the programme, visit

Show More
Back to top button