UCC Offers Ireland’s First MSc in Organic Horticulture
Launched today by well known film Director, David Puttnam, the programme, which is the only one of it’s kind in Ireland and in Europe, will provide students with both the scientific principles and the practical applications of organic horticulture and the growing of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower crops in a sustainable, environmentally protective manner.
The Masters Programme will be based at a newly established teaching and research base at the Liss Ard Estate near Skibbereen and run by he School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in UCC.
Programme Co-oordinator Professor Peter Jones, from the School of BEES, said” The research element of the new programme will be essential because one of the factors holding back organic production in Ireland is the lack of targeted research appropriate to this country, emphasis will be placed on graduates being able to test new methods, cultivars etc. in a scientifically rigorous way, leading to a body of research knowledge of value to Irish organic growers.”
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Shane McEntee TD earlier welcomed the new masters programme saying, “It is a positive step towards providing the levels of expertise needed to develop the organic horticulture sector in Ireland to its full potential and it will help to improve the knowledge base of the sector and to promote best practice”.
The one-year, full-time programme will include the study of crop production and plant propagation; organic certification; organic methods of controlling plant pests and disease; plant nutrition and crop physiology; as well as research skills and business planning for organic growers.
Based entirely at the Liss Ard Estate, near Skibbereen, a maximum number of 15 students will be enrolled in the first year.