GMIT and Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, have formed a new strategic partnership to develop academic and educational co-operation in areas of mutual interest.
The President of GMIT, Dr Fergal Barry, and the Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle, this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU ) at the Letterfrack campus in Connemara, the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology, attended by staff from both GMIT and Teagasc. Whilst the initial MOU will focus on areas of broadleaf forestry and hardwood timber utilisation, the agreement allows for the development of a range of collaborative activities in other areas. The two organisations seek to promote sustainable partnerships and mutual understandings in the following areas:
research, related to timber utilisation, forestry, agriculture and food
appointment of adjunct faculty staff and research scholars
joint research activities
organisaton and participation in seminars, symposia, short-term academic programmes and academic meeting
exchange of research and educational materials, publications and academic information;
creating and marketing of electronic instruction media, including credit and non-credit course.
Teagasc’s Dr Nuala Ni Fhlatharta and GMIT Letterfrack’s Dermot O’Donovan will lead the implementation of the MOU.
Commenting on the new agreement, Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, said: “Teagasc is delighted to expand on our existing extensive collaboration with GMIT in the sphere of agricultural education. This agreement will serve to closely align our broadleaf tree improvement, silviculture and management research programmes with industry and hardwood end-user needs. It will help ensure that the investment by forest owners and the state in our broadleaf crops will not only provide ecosystem services, but also a valuable indigenous raw material for high quality hardwood products.”
Dr Fergal Barry, says this expanded partnership with Teagasc will not only further develop our capacity as the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology through collaborative research, related to timber utilisation and forestry agriculture, but we hope it will broaden the collaborative base to other significant areas of mutual interest and expertise between Teagasc and GMIT such as food development.”
Dermot O’Donovan said:”GMIT Letterfrack and Teagasc share a lot of common ground in terms of the forest life cycle. We are very happy to explore research projects of mutual interest with Teagasc and to share and leverage each organisation’s expertise in examining opportunities to add value to Irish-grown timber products. Research and development are key strategies for GMIT and this partnership will help to progress both of these areas in respect of the sustainable development and utilisation potential of Irish hardwood forestry produce, benefiting the region and staff and students on campus. “
Dr. Nuala Ní Fhlatharta, Head of the Teagasc Forestry Development Department, commented that such initiatives are crucial to ensure that forest owners with broadleaves (which account for 164,000 hectares or 26% of forest area ) are supported in adding value to their forest crops thereby accessing new markets and providing raw material for local development opportunities in rural areas.