What is Agri-Biosciences?
Modern agriculture utilises biological tools to increase production and sustainability in the agri-food industry. Some of these tools include using genetics to determine breeding and health traits in animal and crop production, applications of bacteria and fungi in agri-food systems, and the use of biomolecules to increase the nutritional value of animal feedstuff.
The agri-food industry is Ireland’s largest homegrown industry, and this biosciences course is designed to meet the growing need for scientists who have excellent technical competency and knowledge application in agri-biosciences. Graduates will be equipped with dynamic skillsets to occupy roles across a variety of agrifood sectors and further develop biotechnologies.
About the Course
The course content is designed in collaboration with industry partners to meet the needs of the ever-evolving agri-food industry. Topics covered are contemporary and relevant both nationally and internationally. The lectures are supplemented with relevant examples, case studies, projects, assignments, site visits, web tools, and interactive media. There is a strong focus in agri-biosciences on practical techniques and approximately 50% of contact time is spent in the laboratory gaining in-depth technical experience.
Year 1 and 2 of the course provide a strong foundation in biological science modules such as microbiology, biotechnology and biochemistry. Additionally, students engage with agri-specific modules gaining skills and knowledge in agricultural biotechnology, animal and plant physiology, and soil science. Year 3 and 4 of the programme provide further specialisation in the agribiosciences, with students covering core topics such as agri-food microbiology, animal breeding, food quality, animal immunology and disease, crop biotechnology, bioinformatics and food analysis.
The mandatory work placement,the second semester in Year 3, is an integral and exciting element of the course programme in which the student joins the workforce of a relevant organisation. The students develop first-hand knowledge of organisational structure, modern analytical techniques used in the organisation, expand their knowledge of the agri-food industry, and further develop both professional and personal skills.
This honours degree programme is an excellent platform for further studies, both in terms of short add-on courses, and more structured postgraduate degrees such as Master of Science and PhD programmes.
How does this course differ from a traditional Agricultural Science course?
The Agri-Biosciences degree programme is specifically tailored to train students in biological tools which can be applied to the agri-food industry to increase production and promote sustainability. Biological applications are central to the future of agri-food through advancements in genomics, crop biotechnology, veterinary diagnostics, animal breeding and animal feed production.
What personal skills are most suited to the course and subsequent careers?
Those pursuing careers in Agri-Biosciences should be logical, analytically minded, detail oriented, team players, good communicators, motivated, and able to show initiative.
Is the agri-food industry secure?
The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, providing employment to 8.4% of the working population. In 2016, Irish Agri-Food and drink exports increased by approximately 2% to €11 billon and gross agricultural output was valued at €7 billion.
Further growth opportunities have been identified by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine which aim to position Ireland as a world leader in sustainable Agri-Food production, through an emphasis on utilising research-led practices and novel biotechnologies.