Postgraduate research praised by McIlveen

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen congratulates DAERA Bursary AWARD winner David Johnston at the RUAS Winter Fair
Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen congratulates DAERA Bursary AWARD winner David Johnston at the RUAS Winter Fair

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has highlighted the importance of academic research, and encouraged students to apply for DAERA’s postgraduate study scheme.

The Minister said: “Knowledge and innovation are at the heart of the agri-food industry. My Department has a long history of investment in postgraduate research. Currently, 34 PhD students are funded by DAERA to carry out specific research over a three year period, while working towards a PhD qualification. I am pleased to confirm that the programme of postgraduate research will continue this year with the award of 12 new Postgraduate Studentships.

“This funding not only serves to support individual students, but also contributes to the wider growth and development of scientific knowledge for the agri-food sector and the wider rural economy.”

The postgraduate studentship scheme opened in December and applications must be submitted before 5pm on Tuesday 28 February 2017. Studentships are due to commence in October.

The Minister recently met final year PhD student David Johnston, who is currently carrying out dairy research at Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough.

David, from Portaferry, completed a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Technology in 2014, a course jointly provided by CAFRE and QUB.

David said: “I come from a farming background and have always had an interest in dairy farming, having worked on the farm with my grandfather and uncle. I would love to continue working in the field of dairy science research when I complete my PhD next year. It has been very hard work but also very enjoyable as I am researching a topic which might make a difference to the industry.

“I want to thank DAERA for providing me with three years of funding to assist me with this study and to gaining a PhD. I would strongly recommend anyone interested in research to apply for one of these awards.”

All the final year students will be invited to speak at the DAERA annual Postgraduate Seminar in September.

Research applications for the 2017 Studentships must meet one of DAERA’s Postgraduate Studentship Priority Research Areas for 2017. Details of these and currently funded projects, along with application forms and terms and conditions for the awards are available from the website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/postgraduate-study or by email to postgraduate@daera-ni.gov.uk.