Course Overview

The agrifood sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry employing over 150,000 people, involving over 600 leading companies, and generating an annual output of over €24 billion. Globally, food and agriculture (agrifood) is an US$8 trillion industry, responsible for feeding the planet and employing 40% of the global workforce. To meet demand for food, feed, fibre and other agri-derived products, our agriculture and food systems need to transition towards more sustainable models. This will require a focus on sustainability combined with technological, institutional, business and social innovations that can produce more agriproducts on the same footprint of land, while also reducing resource demands and the environmental footprint of agriculture. The NUI Galway master's degree in AgriFood Sustainability & Technology generates graduates with the interdisciplinary skills to respond to such challenges and opportunities both in Ireland, and in other leading agrifood nations worldwide. The programme is run in collaboration with Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Authority (Teagasc) and other leading agrifood partners from Ireland and internationally. The programme provides a strong enabling platform for students to develop careers in the agrifood sector in Ireland and globally.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Professor Charles Spillane
  • Dr Peter McKeown
  • Dr Galina Brychkova
  • Dr Brendan Allen

and other members of the multidisciplinary Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. 

 

researcher
PROF CHARLES SPILLANE
B.Sc.,Grad.Dip.,Ph.D.
View Profile
researcher
Dr Galina Brychkova
Ph.D
LECTURER BELOW THE BAR
ADB2007
Aras de Brun
Plant and Agribiosciences
NUI Galway
View Profile

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Proof of identity, English language qualification if applicable, academic transcripts, an academic recommendation, Personal Statement (max. 600 words), two-page CV.


Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

30

Closing Date

Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

Course code

1AST1

Course Outline

The MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology) is a highly innovative one-year taught postgraduate programme, which begins in September each year. Semester 1 is comprised of the following taught modules: (a) PAB5117: Understanding Ireland’s Agriculture & AgriFood Sector; (b) PAB5115: AgriFood Sustainability & Agri-Resilience Challenges; (c) PAB5116: Understanding AgriBusiness & AgriFood Market Trends; (d) PAB5114: AgriFood Career, Communication & Impact Pathway Skills; (e) PAB5122: Food Systems, Diets, Nutrition & Technology; (f) PAB5125: One Health; and (g) PAB5123: Designing and Writing a Sustainability Research Fellowship Proposal. In Semester I students will also take the (h) PAB5121 module: Writing a Review Article on a Sustainable Development Topic, which will span into Semester 2. In Semester 2, students will take the following modules: (i) PAB5126: AgriEngineering, Agritech & AgriInformatics, (j) PAB5127: Geospatial Analysis and Remote Sensing; (k) PAB5128: Data Analysis for Sustainability Research.

To complete 60 ECTs of taught modules, students can select one of the two optional modules: (l) PAB5129: Writing and Publishing a Peer-Reviewed Sustainability Research Article (Semester 2) or (m) BI5108: Green Lab Principles and Practice (Semester 1 &2). During Semester 2 and until the end of the program each student will conduct a minor research project on “Agrifood Sustainability & Technology” (PAB5124 module) which will be co-supervised by expert members of the MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology) programme committee along with experts from partner research groups in the NUI Galway Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC), Ryan Institute, or from external partner organisations and companies in Ireland (e.g., Teagasc) and globally. Students will be assessed by a combination of written exams and continuous assessment.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required PAB5121: Writing a Review Article on a Sustainable Development Topic


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module is designed for students to investigate, draft and engage in the procees to submit a review paper to a peer-reviewed journal, with a particular emphasis on sustainability and sustainable development. The student will gain understanding of what is a review article, including what is the function and audience of a review article. The module will provide training in the different types of methodological approaches to narrative, best evidence and systematic reviews, and classification typologies of reviews by objective or mandate. The student will gain an understanding of the key elements and structure of a review article, including through extensive review and critical analysis of existing high quality review articles in the literature.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of what a review article is, including what is the function and audience of a review article.
  2. Implement a process to identify gaps in the published review literature that can usefully be filled by an additional review paper on the topic, and justify why the review article should be considered for publication.
  3. Recognize the importance of review methods and understand the use of rigorous methods to conduct a review of existing literature.
  4. Deploy methodological approaches to narrative, best evidence and systematic reviews, and have an understanding of classification typologies of reviews by objective or mandate.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the stepwise approach to investigating and drafting a review and sources of bias and confounding in researching and drafting a review article.
  6. Develop critical thinking and information skills including through review of the primary literature, existing review articles and developing a literature search strategy combined with quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods for the review.
  7. Appreciate the importance of research from high-quality peer-reviewed journals, including the use of bibliometrics to identify important primary or review papers in the literature that are advancing the state of the art.
  8. Engage with supervisors in a team effort to investigate and draft a review article that is of sufficient quality and scholarship to be considered for submission to a target journal.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5121: "Writing a Review Article on a Sustainable Development Topic" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5117: Understanding Ireland’s Agriculture & AgriFood Sector


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

The module is designed to allow postgraduate students working on an agri or agrifood related topics to contextualise their research within the broader context of agriculture and the agrifood sector in Ireland. Students will be enabled to understand the origins of the Irish agriculture and agrifood sectors, current status, challenges and opportunities of national and international relevance. The module will be of particular relevance to PhD and Masters degree students within the Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre, Teagasc Walsh Fellows in NUI Galway and other universities, and in general any research students seeking to contextualise their research through improved understanding of Ireland agriculture and agrifood systems. The module will be taught in conjunction with experts from Teagasc and other partner organisations of the PABC, and will include lectures/seminars from leading international experts. The course will provide an overview of the origins of Irish agriculture, its place in local, national and European context, the policy which regulates it and how research in related areas contributes to its continued sustainable development. Students will augment their learning experience with a visit to a local farming enterprise and interaction with the agricultural community. Students will conclude the module by making a presentation of a topic of relevance to Irish agriculture; and by writing a report that describes how their own area of Thesis research relates to the wider context of the field. This report will be of written following the guidelines for Thesis preparation (including referencing), to ensure that it can be adapted as a component of the introductory chapter of the student’s Thesis. Successful completion of the module will depend upon satisfactory performance in both elements of the assessment.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Summarise the main factors which have affected the development of agriculture in Ireland
  2. Explain the linkages between agri-related research across different research areas;
  3. Identify priority and opportunity areas in which research can assist the development of Irish agriculture and agrifood systems;
  4. Write a report placing their own research topic in the broader context of Irish agriculture and agrifood systems;
  5. Demonstrate an improved ability to make oral and written communications of their research topic in context of Irish agriculture and agrifood systems;
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5117: "Understanding Ireland’s Agriculture & AgriFood Sector" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5115: AgriFood Sustainability & Agri-Resilience Challenges


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

The module will provide researchers with an understanding of the major sustainability and resilience challenges facing agriculture and agrifood systems in Ireland and internationally (including in developing and rapidly growing economies). The module will provide students with a cutting-edge understanding of major planetary boundaries relating to agriculture, and their inter-relationships with agriculture, diets, public health, food systems, markets and value chains. In the context of the development of future agricultural and agrifood systems in Ireland, students will gain an understanding of different scenarios and trajectories for agriculture and agrifood systems. Students will be required to identify emerging areas for disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research that can improve prospects for addressing sustainability and resilience challenges facing agriculture and agrifood systems in Ireland and internationally.The module will be taught in conjunction with experts from Teagasc and other partner organisations of the PABC, and will include lectures/seminars from leading international experts. The module will include field course visits to agricultural sustainability initiatives, including value chain and business models that have a substantial agrifood sustainability component. This course is examined by the production of (i) an interactive learning journal, hosted via Blackboard, in which students will reflect upon each of the taught sessions and assigned elements of the literature; (ii) participation in a Class Excite “Elevator Pitch” workshop in which each student will present a case-study of an environmental mitigation strategy.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the major sustainability and resilience challenges facing the agriculture and agrifood sector globally
  2. Describe the major sustainability and resilience challenges facing the agriculture and agrifood sector in Ireland
  3. Identify research priorities and opportunities for improving sustainability and resilience of agriculture and agrifood systems
  4. Have an improved understanding how different research skills and inter-disciplinary approaches can develop and deliver agri-sustainability innovations
  5. Suggest strategies for improving the sustainability and resilience potential of agricultural and agri-food activities related to their own research area/topic
  6. Communicate in an Elevator Pitch format how their research topic can be relevant to agriculture and agrifood sustainability
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (50%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (50%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5115: "AgriFood Sustainability & Agri-Resilience Challenges" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5116: Understanding AgriBusiness & AgriFood Market Trends


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module will provide research students with an improved understanding of agribusiness structures and dynamics, in Ireland and internationally. The student will gain insights into agri-economics, agri-business, and agri-market trends. Particular focus will be placed on understanding value chains and the role of research and innovations in driving change, economic and commercial benefits for value-chain stakeholders. Students be provided with insights into food systems and geospatial, material and environmental footprint dimensions of agrifood systems. The module will also provide insights into social, demographic, behavioural and gender dimensions of agriculture and agrifood systems, particular in relation to agrifood systems generating both social and economic impacts in Ireland and internationally. The module will be taught by NUI Galway PABC members in conjunction with experts from Teagasc and other partner organisations of the PABC, and will include lectures/seminars from leading international experts. The module will involve a field study visit to the Teagasc Rural and Economy Centre in Athenry. During the course, students will maintain a Blackboard journal in which they record their experiences and are encourage to reflect on how the topics relate to the future impacts of their own research; an overview of this process will be included in the first taught session. The final assessment of the course is via a ‘business elevator pitch’ to a judging jury in which the student presents how an idea developed during a research program (related to their own project, where applicable) could be used to develop a new product, service or market opportunity.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Summarise the dynamics of national and international agrifood markets and trends
  2. Understand the basic components for developing an agri-business plan
  3. Identify new export markets for agricultural and food products or services
  4. Develop and present a business plan for exploitation of an international market
  5. Appreciate the contribution of different disciplines and research approaches for developing and implementing a business plan for an agrifood product or service
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (50%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (50%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5116: "Understanding AgriBusiness & AgriFood Market Trends" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5114: AgriFood Career, Communication & Impact Pathway Skills


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module will allow students to understand, develop and more effectively communicate impact pathways from agrifood research and innovation activities. Students will be trained in agrifood career development skills including CV development, effective networking and science communication strategies to improve career prospects. Students will be provided with the skills to analyse and determine skillgaps and emerging employment opportunities in the agrifood sector, and will have opportunity to engage with agrifood employers across the private, public and NGO sectors so that they can better match skills and capabilities to emergent career opportunities and trends. In addition, students will be provided with both business and social entrepreneurship perspectives relating to both agriculture and agrifood systems. Students will be trained in identifying how they can gain critical research skills including the need for statistical and programming expertise (e.g. R programming) across multiple discplines. Finally, students will be provided with training in evidence-based agrifood science communication via different communication (including IT-based) channels and how to develop scientific publication quality Figures and Tables for agrifood scientific publishing. For their assessment, the students will produce either i) a literature review related to their subject area, in a topic developed in conjunction with their PhD supervisor, to form the basis of a review publication in a specified journal; or ii) a detailed plan for communicating the relevance of their research to a specified group of the non-academic public (e.g. policy makers, farmers, food retailers, journalists). Students will be provided with training: how to write an academic conference abstract; how to draft a press release; how to identify suitable literature and resources for enhancing their own academic and career performance; how to prepare figures and present data (including the use of statistical and graphical packages); and how to develop a public engagement plan in an agricultural or agribiosciences area (5x each of 2 hours duration). Training will be delivered by members of the PABC, Teagasc scientists, PABC partner organisation representatives.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Develop an impact pathway for their agri-related research project activity
  2. Develop a 5 year career plan with milestones
  3. Articulate a communication strategy and plan for their research
  4. Produce a correctly referenced work which will enable them to communicate the importance of their research to a specified audience
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5114: "AgriFood Career, Communication & Impact Pathway Skills" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5122: Food Systems, Diets, Nutrition & Technology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module provides a comprehensive overview of current state of the art relating to food systems, diets, nutrition and food technologies. The module provides examples of multiple challenges, innovations and examples relating to global, national and community levels, including case studies of relevance to developed and developing countries. There is a multidisciplinary focus on emerging and disruptive food technologies and innovations. The module will also provide an overview of sustainable development goals (SDGs), targets and policies relating to food systems, diets and nutrition
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain the concept of food systems at global, national and local scales
  2. Describe and discuss dietary transition pathways towards more sustainable diets, including tradeoffs and co-benefits with non-dietary parameters.
  3. Describe how foods and diets can be measured in relation to nutritional, health and environmental attributes
  4. Describe the technologies and processes used to convert primary agricultural (& aquacultural) production to unprocessed, processed and improved foods, including emerging technologies, innovations and trends.
  5. Describe the major food safety challenges, approaches and policies for improving food safety and traceability in food supply chains.
  6. Define the relationships, tradeoffs and co-benefits between technical and non-technical approaches (e.g. behaviour change) to improving food safety and associated public health outcomes.
  7. Synthesise information and recognise relevance, develop a sustained and reasoned argument
  8. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written or oral means
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (60%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (40%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5122: "Food Systems, Diets, Nutrition & Technology" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5123: Designing and Writing a Sustainability Research Fellowship Application


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module aims to equip students with the skills to write a competitive research fellowship application targeted at specific funding agencies. During the module, the student will engage with their proposed supervisor(s) to identify a research question for a research fellowship application and design a competitive research application. The student will critically evaluate and reflect on the novelty and impact to be generated from the proposed research topic. The student will engage in mock reviewing of sample fellowship applications to gain an understanding of the grant evaluation process. A fellowship application structure including workpackages, a Gantt chart, milestones and key deliverables will form part of the fellowship application writing training.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Present their skills, education and experience to date in a manner competitive for a research fellowship application
  2. Efficiently work with supervisor(s) to identify a novel and impactful research fellowship application topic that can be investigated in the supervisor(s) research group(s).
  3. Investigate the state of the art in the published literature relating to the research question and outline how the proposed research fellowship application will fill a knowledge gap in the current state of the art.
  4. Formulate a coherent research fellowship application, containing a research question, research goal and objectives, workpackages, research methodology, timeline, milestones, deliverables, outputs, impacts and outcomes.
  5. Formulate feasible contingency plans for the proposed research fellowship application.
  6. Demonstrate awareness of ethics and sex/gender dimensions in research practice and the knowledge of how to prepare for and obtain ethical approval for research fellowship applications.
  7. Assess the feasibility of the research budget and the suitability/quality of infrastructure and facilities to effectively perform the proposed research fellowship applications.
  8. Complete a draft research fellowship application in the template of the funding agency, in consultation with proposed research supervisor(s).
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5123: "Designing and Writing a Sustainability Research Fellowship Application" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5124: Minor research project “Agrifood Sustainability & Technology”


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 30

A minor research project in any area of agrifood sustainability and technology will be conducted, typically in collaboration with leading agricultural research institutions and companies in Ireland and internationally. The student will develop research skills, analysis and conceptualisation, demonstrating their skills in writing, and using standard conventions for bibliographies, citations, sources, etc. The student will submit an original piece of primary research on an agreed topic of relevance to agrifood sustainability and technology in an article-based format for scientific publication: e.g. a research article formatted for a specific pre-agreed peer-reviewed journal of agri-domain relevance, inclusive of abstract, keywords, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, conclusion, references, Figures and Tables.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Be able to explain the role and contribution of research and innovation to generate outputs, impacts and outcomes on society and economy in the arena of agrifood sustainability and technology.
  2. Formulate research hypotheses and conduct research that addresses identified knowledge gaps in a specific domain of agrifood sustainability and technology.
  3. Select and implement appropriate research methodology to address knowledge gaps in a specific domain of agrifood sustainability and technology.
  4. Demonstrate that they have gained a corresponding level of expertise with respect to relevant methodologies and techniques.
  5. Display competence in the skills and process to generate primary research that can contribute to the primary peer-reviewed research literature relating to agrifood sustainability and technology.
  6. Reflect on their potential and comparative advantage as a researcher compared to other career paths within the agrifood sustainability and technology sector.
  7. Analyse data, synthesize research findings and report research findings in written and verbal forms.
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of any ethical issues associated with the research project or topic.
  9. Identify future research questions, experiments and possible projects arising from the research, including areas for future development.
  10. Demonstrate improved planning, time management and project management skills.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (20%)
  • Research (80%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5124: "Minor research project “Agrifood Sustainability & Technology”" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5125: One Health


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module focuses on the concepts of One Health in agriculture and agrifood contexts, which are approaches to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes. Areas of work in which a One Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans, such as flu, rabies and Rift Valley Fever), and combatting antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat). The module will outline how One Health approach relates to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particularly relating to tradeoffs and co-benefits associated with SDG3 and One Health approaches.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain and discuss the OneHealth concept the underlying rationale for such an approach to public health in different contexts.
  2. Identify and describe the main policies and institutions nationally and globally of relevance to implementing the One Health approach.
  3. Apply a One Health approach to design of agricultural landscapes, farming and food systems that improve the health of humans, agricultural and natural ecosystems.
  4. Demonstrate learning and understanding of disease ecology, evolution and emergence, and the drivers of and impact of disease (social, economic, biological, evolutionary, demographic, ecological) interactions with biotic and abiotic systems. Use a One Health framework to evaluate disease control and prevention options.
  5. Explain how anti-microbial resistance (AMR) occurs, why it is a global problem, and what portfolio of technological and non-technological options can be used in a One Health approach to address the AMR challenge facing humanity.
  6. Describe the mechanisms by which zoonotic diseases occur using examples of major and emerging zoonotic diseases. Use a One Health approach identify options for combatting zoonotic diseases for improved health outcomes.
  7. Describe the range of current and potential therapeutic options for communicable diseases of humans, livestock and aquatic animals; Use a One Health approach to devise improved diagnostic and treatment options.
  8. Develop a sustained and reasoned argument and communicate it in a manner appropriate to a target auditorium.
  9. Effectively and appropriately use information technology for information analysis and presentation.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (70%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (30%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5125: "One Health" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5126: AgriEngineering, Agritech & AgriInformatics


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Converging technologies across informatics, engineering and agribio-technologies are poised to revolutionise agriculture and food systems globally. This module assesses the potential for transitions towards smart farm, agriculture and food systems scenarios through disruptive advances in converging technologies. The module will describe systems approach addressing farm and value chain level integration of information technology, communication technology, automation and robotics, using smart analytics (statistics, visualisation and modelling) approach. The module will allow students to identify emerging and disruptive technologies across informatics, engineering and biotechnologies in the agrifood sphere, encompassing topics such as AI and machine learning, internet of things, automation, robotics, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, genomics and synthetic biology. In particular, students will be familiarised with precision farming and smart agriculture. As part of the assessment students will do group work projects in teams involving mash-ups of emerging technologies to develop frontier concepts for disruptive innovations that can be pitched by the teams to panels of commercialisation and innovation specialists.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Have an awareness of the range of emerging and converging technologies that are poised to deliver disruptive innovations that improve agrofood sustainability and productivity
  2. Identify and critically evaluate the range of informatics (including big data, artificial intelligence & virtual/augmented reality) and digital technologies that can be applied to agriculture and agrifood systems.
  3. Identify and critically evaluate the range of engineering technologies (including automation, robotics, image recognition, GPS etc) that can be applied to agriculture and agrifood systems.
  4. Identify and critically evaluate the range of sensor technologies (including Internet of Things, biosensors, chemical and physics derived sensors etc) that can be applied to agriculture and agrifood systems.
  5. Identify and critically evaluate the potential for precision agriculture applied to different farming systems and scales of operation, including advantages and limitations
  6. Identify and assess the potential for integration of informatics, engineering and sensor advances with the application of biotechnologies to improve the sustainability and productivity of agriculture and agrifood systems.
  7. Have an awareness of the application of social media and informatics-based decision support systems to enable consumer choice and influence producer, value chain stakeholder and consumer behaviour in relation to agriculture and food systems.
  8. Identify and comparatively rank ethical risks and opportunities that may arise in relation to the converging technologies considered in the module.
  9. Work in a team to develop a disruptive innovation pitch presentation relating to a convergent technology that can improve agriculture and agrifood sustainability and productivity.
  10. Identify a problem, and use the IDEO human-centered design approach to formulate and evaluate possible solutions and approaches to problem-solving.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5126: "AgriEngineering, Agritech & AgriInformatics" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5127: Geospatial Analysis and Remote Sensing


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module provides a broad overview of geospatial analysis, remote sensing and spatial databases, and application of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), with examples from agricultural systems. During this module, students will be provided with hands-on education in the principles and practice of GIS. The module will provide knowledge on how to combine data from a broad range of sources and formats, including digital maps, administrative data, census, surveys and satellite imagery. Content focuses on the representation, acquisition, management, manipulation and analysis of spatial data. The module provides students with GIS concepts, applications for ecological, environmental and land-use analyses and hands-on experience of commercial and free GIS softwares. The module also provides an overview of data streams from remote sensing, including how to access and utilise data from remote sensing data streams (e.g. from satellite data).
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically review the availability and utility of GIS and remote sensing applications, articulate the principles of data acquisition, management and analysis in relation to GIS and remote sensing.
  2. Input, manage, analyse and output spatial and remote sensing data using ArcGIS and qGIS softwares.
  3. Discuss the principles of generating and integrating spatial data from primary and secondary sources and designing the databases.
  4. Discuss the principles of remote sensing and analysis techniques, remote sensing datastreams and their applicability to agricultural systems and environmental applications.
  5. Demonstrate skills in statistical analysis and problem-solving in relation to remote sensing and GIS.
  6. Explain the main concepts of agri-environmental modelling and planning
  7. Discuss the potential for disruptive advances relating to society and economy in the agri-environmental sphere arising from use of geospatial and remote sensing data.
  8. To take responsibility for his/her own learning
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5127: "Geospatial Analysis and Remote Sensing " and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PAB5128: Data Analysis for Sustainability Research


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

The module will cover the core principles required in the analysis of complex multifactorial quantitative and qualitative datasets, interpretation and communication of the obtained results. This module will cover how to explore and understand the data, how to display the variables, normality of data, how to explore relationships between variables using scatterplot, correlations, linear regressions, associations between the variables and statistical model’s development. All practicals are conducted through R or other relevant statistical software.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the concepts behind the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.
  2. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the concepts behind the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of numerical data.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the idea of testing hypotheses using the probabilities of the hypotheses being incorrect.
  4. Analyse and interpret datasets using relevant statistical software (correlation; linear and multiple regressions; chi-square; analysis of variance; multifactor analysis of variance).
  5. Describe the main principles of statistical modelling.
  6. Present data analysis and interpretation in the context of scientific publication.
  7. Critically apply theoretical knowledge to analyse data.
  8. Develop effective and efficient self-directed study skills
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5128: "Data Analysis for Sustainability Research" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BI5108: Green Lab Principles and Practice


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This module aims to provide a general overview of key environmental concepts such as climate change, plastic pollution, sustainability, and biodiversity. It will briefly explore how perspectives from psychology, sociology, economics, and the study of ethics and governance provide us with insights into how perception and behaviour influence responses to environmental issues. In addition, the lifecyle of materials, and the environmental impact of the resources and equipment typically used in scientific laboratories will be examined in some detail. These ideas will form the backdrop to a focused study on how the organisation of, and practices in, scientific laboratories can be reformed to reduce their environmental footprint and be established on a more sustainable basis.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the main components of the Earth’s climate system, the key factors that influence climate change.
  2. Summarise psychological and social influences on your own and others’ behaviour in response to learning about climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental challenges.
  3. List and describe the core principles of sustainability (including sustainability metrics) and indicate which planetary boundaries are currently exceeded.
  4. Report on how your local/regional environment is, or is expected to be, impacted by climate change and identify relevant government or supranational (eg. E.U.) policies that address climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity.
  5. Provide the chemical formula for at least four different kinds of plastic that are commonly used in labs and describe their potential ‘cradle-to-grave’ impact on the environment.
  6. Provide examples of circular economy policies and practice that are being implemented within and outside the EU and cite possible limitations to the CE business model.
  7. Advise on the adoption of green practices within research and teaching laboratories in higher education.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Department-based Assessment (50%)
  • Research (50%)
Module Director
Reading List
  1. "Sustainability: the basics" by Peter Jacques
    ISBN: 978-04156084.
    Publisher: Routledge
    Chapters: All
  2. "Don't even think about it: why our brains are wired to ignore climage change" by George Marshall
    ISBN: 978-163286102.
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Chapters: All
  3. "Half-Earth: Our planet's fight for life" by E.O. Wilson
    ISBN: 978-163149252.
    Publisher: Liveright
    Chapters: All
  4. "On Fire: the burning question of the green new deal" by Naomi Klein
    ISBN: 978-198212991.
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Chapters: All
  5. "This changes everything: capitalism v the climate" by Naomi Klein
    ISBN: 978-145169739.
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Chapters: All
  6. "Out of the wreckage: a new politics for an age of crisis" by George Monbiot
    ISBN: 978-178663289.
    Publisher: Verso
    Chapters: All
The above information outlines module BI5108: "Green Lab Principles and Practice" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PAB5129: How to write a Peer-Reviewed Sustainability Primary Research Article


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

The module aims to develop students’ research writing skills and provide essential knowledge how to write an original primary research article, with an emphasis on sustainability and the SDGs. The module will cover all steps involved in preparing a research article for publication, including assessing whether research data is sufficiently novel and robust to warrant inclusion in a published research article. The module will develop students skills to critically evaluate their own research data and findings as to whether it is of sufficient quality for publication. The module will train students in identification of journals, use of journal templates, working within the structure of research articles and referencing. Students will learn how to search for published research studies and articles using search engine facilities (WoS, Scopus, Google Scholar) and assess quality and impact of publications using bibliometric measures. The module will train students in preparation of high quality Tables and Figures and Supplementary Material, including the use of referencing software). Students will be trained in how to make a draft of the cover letter to the editor and how to respond to reviewer’s feedback duringh revisions of research manuscripts. During the module, students will critically evaluate high quality research publications in their domain of interest to identify key features associated with high quality research publications. Based on Research Integrity training (self-study), the module will expand students’ knowledge on publication ethics, responsible conduct of research and accountability for the research from research question to publication. As part of the assessment, students will write the first draft of the research article based on their research findings.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically evaluate and reflect on their research data, results and findings to determine its potential for publication in a research article.
  2. Identify a primary peer-reviewed research journal for publication of their results and prepare a draft research article in the format of the journal.
  3. Prepare research Tables, Figures and Legends (in the format required by the journal) that communicate the research findings effectively, and to use these to draft the results section of the paper.
  4. Draft a discussion and conclusions of the research article by comparing and contrasting the results findings with the current state of the art.
  5. Use referencing software to prepare a bibliography in the format required by the journal.
  6. Draft the introduction, Abstract, keywords and Title of the research article in the format required by the journal.
  7. Develop an understanding of conventions associated with authorship, authorship order, contributions and corresponding authorship.
  8. Develop a cover letter for the Editor of the main findings and apply a standard methodology for responses to reviewers and revisions of the manuscript.
  9. Have an understanding of features of research articles that lead to higher citation rates
  10. Work effectively as part of the team and have an appreciation of the importance of deadlines.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PAB5129: "How to write a Peer-Reviewed Sustainability Primary Research Article" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology) will fill a critical skills gap in the workplace for graduates who have the multidisciplinary knowledge and skills regarding agrifood sustainability and innovation to drive positive change in the agrifood sector in Ireland and globally. Graduates will be provided with significant career training throughout the program so that they will be highly competitive for positions in leading-edge agrifood companies and public sector organisations (e.g., government agencies, regulatory bodies, etc) in Ireland and globally. Graduates who are interested in establishing their own enterprises or companies will also be facilitated by the MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology) programme.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,450 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€7,226 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€20,750 p.a. 2020/21

Find out More

For all communications regarding the MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology) contact:

Professor Charles Spillane, Programme Director of MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology).
E: charles.spillane@nuigalway.ie

and

Dr Galina Brychkova, Programme Coordinator of MSc (AgriFood Sustainability & Technology).
E: galina.brychkova@nuigalway.ie

Downloads

  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)

  • Undergraduate Prospectus 2021

    Undergraduate Prospectus 2021 PDF (14.6 MB)