Farm Ireland

Monday 23 April 2018

Burke on way back to UCD

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

One of Teagasc's most senior crops researchers, Professor Jimmy Burke, is taking up a new post as the Masstock Chair in Crop Science at UCD.

The Galway native is returning to his alma mater to head up a new programme in crops research and teaching.

Professor Burke has spent more than 30 years working with Teagasc, and since 2002 he has headed up the crops centre at Oak Park, where he set up a new biotechnology facility and a research programme in crop science, energy, plant biotechnology and risk assessment.

The appointment of a new head of the crops department in UCD has been a long time coming since the retirement of Professor Eamon Gallagher nearly 13 years ago.

Since then, the Agriculture faculty has lost most of its crops lecturers, through the retirements of George Keane, the late Paddy Barry and Eddie Walshe.

Irish-owned agri-services company Origin will be key to the faculty's re-invigoration through a link up with UCD under the banner of its British-based Masstock subsidary.

While the move will be reason for optimism within the faculty, Mr Burke's move could cause further headaches for Teagasc management struggling to cope with recruitment embargoes.

A Teagasc spokesman said the body would first look at the scope for distributing among existing staff the functions carried out by Professor Burke.

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