New €4.8 million Education, Entrepreneurship and Research Facility at UCD Lyons Farm officially inaugurated.

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A new state-of-the-art facility was inaugurated at UCD Lyons Farm, with the hope it will become the focal point of the Irish agricultural industry.

On 25th October 2023, a new Education, Entrepreneurship and Research Facility was opened at UCD Lyons Farm in Co. Kildare. Inaugurated by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, this €4.8 million facility incorporates the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre and the UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub. Built thanks to the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the project sealed the partnership between UCD and Bimeda, a veterinary pharmaceutical and animal health products manufacturer and distributor. All the parties involved in the project share the hope that the facility will become the heart of the future Irish agricultural industry.  

UCD Lyons Farm already counts 250 hectares of land divided between dairy, beef, sheep, equine, crop and environmental research, teaching and commercial facilities. This new project has brought to the area “flexible lab spaces, meeting rooms, offices and an exhibition and seminar space with the UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub having its own teaching room and lab space on the ground floor.” As such, this state-of-the-art facility is a place where researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs will work together in a single space, thus “allowing them to collaborate more closely to further enhance Ireland’s capabilities and sustainable impact in agricultural, agri-food and veterinary sciences”, as stated by Professor Helen Roche, interim UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact. 

This state-of-the-art facility is a place where researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs will work together in a single space, thus ‘allowing them to collaborate more closely to further enhance Ireland’s capabilities and sustainable impact in agricultural, agri-food and veterinary sciences’, as stated by Professor Helen Roche, interim UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact.

The project was first announced in November 2022. At the time, director of AgTechUCD Innovation Centre Niamh Collins stated that the facility would “assist client companies to access on-farm experimental facilities, enabling them to test and trial products and services in a real-world environment.” The AgTechUCD Innovation Centre is “the first and only on-farm workspace hub” in Ireland, and it will promote “early-stage start-ups and SMEs” (small to medium-sized enterprises), allowing them to launch their “disruptive innovations in the agri, agtech, agrifood and veterinary sectors.” Similarly, Carol Gibbons, Manager for Regions and Local Enterprise, Enterprise Ireland, affirms that the Centre “will become a focal point for Irish agtech, providing new entrepreneurs with the support, guidance and collaboration they require to bring their ideas to the next level and start ambitious agtech companies.”

The AgTechUCD Innovation Centre is ‘the first and only on-farm workspace hub’ in Ireland, and it will promote ‘early-stage start-ups and SMEs’ (small to medium-sized enterprises), allowing them to launch their 'disruptive innovations in the agri, agtech, agrifood and veterinary sectors.'

Furthermore, the UCD Bimeda Herd Health Hub will represent a national centre for dairy herd education, thus providing students at the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine with high quality equipment to pursue their studies. The Hub will also contribute to supporting students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Dairy Herd Health, UCD’s flagship distance-learning programme on the subject. 

When the news about the project was made public last year, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science Professor Alex Evans argued that this new facility “represents a new phase in UCD’s commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and outreach in the areas of agriculture, food and veterinary medicine.” This sentiment was echoed by Minister Coveney, who stated that “UCD shares my vision of a thriving Irish agtech sector providing global solutions driven by Irish-based innovation and talent. The remarkable facilities we are opening today will ensure that thousands of graduate and postgraduate students will be able to access cutting-edge research and technology.”