Origin Enterprises plc and University College Dublin (UCD) announced, on 12th December, the establishment of a dedicated digital, precision agriculture and crop science collaborative research partnership, supported through the Science Foundation Ireland (‘SFI’) Strategic Partnership Programme. This is a €17.6 million five-year research programme.
The collaboration encompasses a strong multi and inter-disciplinary approach, combining the leading expertise of UCD in data science and agricultural science with Origin’s integrated crop management research, systems capabilities and extensive on-farm knowledge exchange networks.
A cornerstone of the partnership will be the creation of scalable, dynamic and integrated crop models which incorporate consistent and real-time data driven and data analytical approaches that optimise sustainable crop performance through enabling enhanced predictive intelligence capabilities at field level.
Commenting on the announcement, Origin’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom O’Mahony said, “We are delighted to join forces and collaborate with UCD, a world-leading academic institution in agricultural science with excellent credentials in multi-disciplinary research. We are particularly pleased with the support of Science Foundation Ireland under its Strategic Partnership Programme, the aim of which is to foster and develop partnerships of scale.”
“The collaboration provides Origin with a development platform which accesses the very substantial intellectual capacity, advanced data analytics, sensing technologies and modelling resources of UCD. The merging of conventional crop science and agronomic application with digital technology and prescriptive data analytics will enhance Origin’s knowledge-intensive offering along with improving the capacity to scale our service.”
Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “This is a very exciting research partnership announced today between Origin and UCD, which will put Irish research at the forefront of new and innovative approaches for future farming systems. The multi-disciplinary research teams at UCD will use our research expertise in data science and agriculture, together with Origin’s industry experts, to address the issue of crop sustainability, a major global food security challenge.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our strategy of building a portfolio of strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships with industry which can deliver impact to the economy and society in Ireland and globally.”
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland welcomed the announcement saying, “The SFI Strategic Partnership Programme supports unique research partnerships with strong potential for impact on the Irish economy. Investing in research that enhances the agri-food industry while protecting our natural resources is vital for Ireland’s future.”
“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support this partnership between UCD and Origin. Combining the resources and expertise from these organisations will secure Ireland’s international position in the field of data-driven agriculture. The proposed integrated crop model will have global implications in the sustainable production of crops, addressing the challenge of food production for a rapidly expanding global population.”