Certificate of Continuing Professional Development (Food and Agri-Food)


This is a part-time blended Certificate (Special Purpose Award) for early stage professionals in the agri-food sector. The Certificate of Continuing Professional Development (Food and Agri-Food) is designed to meet the career development needs of early career researchers, with particular focus on transversal skills development. This course offers a unique opportunity for early career researchers to invest in their career development and future employability.

This accredited programme is the first of its type in Ireland and has been designed using over 15 years’ experience in PhD skills training in the Food and Agri-Food sector. The programme content has been designed in consultation with industry leaders and with reference to the skills gap literature.

Who can take this programme

  • Candidates must be holders of an honours BSc degree, or equivalent qualification, in a discipline with a significant element Food or Agricultural Science, with a minimum of second class honours Grade 2 or equivalent.
  • Candidates should be concurrently registered (or intending to register) for a Research Degree programme (e.g. MRes, MSc or PhD).


  • Hold a level 9 or level 10 degree in a food science, nutrition, engineering or science related discipline and
  • Be currently working in a food, agri-food or related organisation on a developmental programme (for example a post-doctoral fellowship) as deemed appropriate by the programme Academic Director.

5 reasons to choose this programme


  1. Enhance your CV through an accredited skills development programme
  2. Increase your employability by demonstrating transversal skills in identified industry needs areas
  3. Study in a flexible manner to suit your research programme requirements
  4. Meet other students in your subject area and share expertise and learning
  5. Benefit from a practical learning experience though multi-modal teaching activities.

Programme Outline

Certificate of Continuing Professional Development groupEarly career researchers, particularly in applied disciplines such as Food, Nutrition, and Agricultural sciences, often possess very deep knowledge in a relatively narrow area. This programme provides interested doctoral students and researchers with the opportunity to undertake a programme of employability skills in a range of transversal areas that are in demand by employers. As such, it allows graduates to enter the workplace with both a depth of research knowledge that is world-class as well as a breadth of transferrable skills that meet the varied needs of the sector.

Agri-food is the cornerstone of the  Irish economy. Modern and dynamic, Irish agri-food is our most important and successful indigenous sector. In order to meet the current and future demands of the sector, it is imperative that young professionals are trained to solve the complete technological challenges of the sector but also be cognizant of the wider economic, societal, and even cultural profile of the agri-food industry. At the individual level, this programme allows early career researchers the opportunity demonstrate continued investment and readiness to prioritise employability skills and employer needs. The programme is offered on a flexible basis with students taking modules at a time and pace that suits their research workload.


Students complete 20 credits as follows:

FS6627  Science Writing for the Agri-Food Researcher (5 ECTS)

FS6626  Career Management Skills for the Food Sector (5 ECTS)

FS6634  Leadership for Agri-Food Research Students (5 ECTS)

FS6637  Analysis and Interpretation of Experimental Data with Mathematical and Statistical Tools (5 ECTS)


The certificate is a part-time, flexible 20 ECTS programme delivered over a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 48 months. Students should expect to devote 450 hours to the programme over this duration. Modules consist of workshops, project based learning, and self-directed study. 

The core teaching will take place at 4x3 day workshops. During the workshops students will be exposed to a range of teaching methods including lectures, role play, group activities and practical exercises. 

In addition to the workshops, participants will be expected to work on module assignments and students will complete a series of supported learning tasks between workshops.

Who teaches this course?

The programme is delivered by staff in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork as well as guest speakers from other disciplines in the university and invited speakers from the wider Food Industry.

Fees and Registration


The fee per module is €650 and full programme fee is €2,700


Registration or further information

To express your interest in this programme, please email Joanne at j.uichrulaoich@ucc.ie

Food Industry Training Unit

University College Cork , Western Road, Cork