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Galway native appointed to drive new Food and Agri Innovation Programme at UCD

A County Galway native has been appointed by UCD to drive its new Food and Agriculture Sustainable Technology Innovation Programme (FAST-IP) at the newly opened AgTechUCD Innovation Centre at UCD Lyons Farm in Co. Kildare.

Edel Mitchell, who is from Woodlawn, outside Ballinasloe, has been announced as Senior Programme Manager to manage the commercial and operational aspects of the new programme.

The goal of FAST-IP, a graduate entrepreneurship training programme to be delivered annually by UCD in partnership with Teagasc until the end of 2029, is to further enhance innovation in the food and agricultural sector.

It will provide participants with the necessary skills to discover, develop and deliver ideas for new products and services in this sector and to accelerate the commercialisation pathway for these business ideas.

Edel Mitchell has over 20 years of national and international cross sectoral experience spanning public, private and global consultancy sectors in Ireland, Europe, USA and Australia.

She has a strong focus on regional development, building commercial and ecosystem partnerships, and developing tailored solutions to address unmet client and market needs, and is an alumna of the BioInnovate Ireland programme at University of Galway.

“I am delighted to join UCD at this exciting time as we near the commencement of the inaugural FAST-IP programme in September,” said Edel.

“I look forward to working with the FAST-IP participants using design thinking methodologies to support the identification of unmet needs and development of innovative commercially scalable solutions in this exciting sector.

“In this new role I am particularly looking forward to partnering collaboratively with UCD and Teagasc to harness the collective domain expertise and wider industry networks.

“In addition, their farming, industry and entrepreneurial experiences and track record of supporting, fostering and spinning out successful start-ups within the Agtech sector will be instrumental in supporting the success of the FAST-IP programme,” she added.

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

It aims to 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 eight to ten weeks immersed in agricultural environments including farms and food processing companies throughout the year long programme. FAST-IP will provide participants with a €38,000 tax-free scholarship during the 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.

Pictured: Senior Programme Manager Edel Mitchell pictured at the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre at UCD Lyons Farm in Co. Kildare.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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