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Project Lead:

Dr. Peter Stuart (Peter.stuart@mtu.ie)

Project Status

In Progress

Project Lead Home Department:

MTU Kerry - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Alignment to HEA and NFETLHE SATLE 2022-23 Themes

  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD);

Alignment to MTU Strategy Themes

Learner Education & Experience;People & Community;Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ecosystem;Leading Regional Development;Global Outlook;

Project Description

Enteric ruminant methane has been identified as being a significant contributor to climate change crisis. Agriculture is still Irelands largest indigenous industry and has a particular responsibility to identify solutions to this challenge. P .Quille is co-supervising a project looking at the effectiveness of feed additives to reduce enteric methane production in ruminants. These additives would also be expected to change the rumen environment and the parasites found in the rumen. Detrimental effects to parasites would result in a win-win solution, but if enhancing pathogenicity there is a need to inform farmers so parasite management actions can be put in place.

Therefore, we believe this complex challenge presents the perfect learning scenario for students. In planning COHESION we have discussed this issue with stakeholders and found a laboratory setup, with artificial rumens, would allow students to carry out and observe experiments that identify feed additives that reduce enteric methane production, while providing sufficient nutrition, without increasing unexpected increases in pathogens.

Therefore, the teaching and learning objectives of this experiment are to:

  1. Design a teaching and learning experience that demonstrates the role of STEM in a solution-focused approach to complex global challenges.
  2. Work with national experts and stakeholders to produce graduates with the requisite skills knowledge and forward-looking attitudes required to excel in the STEM workplace.
  3. Include learners in the co-creation of COHESION with national stakeholders and experts across multiple disciplines. Therefore, empowering them with the necessary skills to build the relationships required for successful collaborative engagement.

What is the anticipated impact of this project?

Across all the programmes approximately 300 students will be impacted annually by either having laboratory practical classes using the equipment, attending a demonstration of how the equipment is used or carrying out a fourth-year project utilising the equipment.

COHESION, will also be co-created with students, national bodies and agri-business companies to ensure work ready graduates with the skills and disposition to tackle international challenges. However, the members of this network have previously worked together on successfully funded national and international projects (e.g. INVASIMMUN, BioRodDis, INVASIMMUN and Refohcus), and COHESION will further strengthen these collaborations and the development of new ones.

What will the outputs of this project be?

COHESION with lecturers from MTU, external Universities, governmental organisations and local industry aims to demonstrate to learners the role of STEM in a solution-focused approach to complex global challenges. This is an ambitious but necessary goal for the department to align with MTU’s strategy and the ESD to 2030 strategy. Therefore, a report will be published following the workshop at DAFM Backweston campus. This joint report will outline the successes COHESION, identified improvements enhancements and a blueprint of how staff can work with students and external stakeholders to align teaching and learning with national strategies. This report will be made available to course boards and other departments.

Shannon Applied Biological Centre (SABC) manager Tim Yeomans has kindly offered to include COHESION in their industry open days. The SABC business development team will promote the technology available through COHESION. This will not only disseminate the availability of skills and technology to potential industry partner but also demonstrate that MTU graduates have the competencies required to carry out research in sustainable livestock production.

Finally, we will publish a peer reviewed manuscript based on results obtained using COHESION equipment.

Team Members:

  • Dr Peter Stuart (PS) (Lecturer, Department Biological and Pharmaceutical Science (BPS, Project lead)
  • Patrick Quille (PQ) (Assistant Lecturer, BPS, team member)
  • Dr Brendan O’Neill (BON) (Assistant Lecturer, BPS, team member)
  • Dr Gerard Corkery (GC) (Head of Department BPS, team member)
  • Paula Curtin (PC) (BPS, team member)
  • Dr Annetta Zintl (Associate Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin. Role: Consultant)
  • Dr James O’Shaughnessy (Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Chair of the Animal Health Ireland Parasite Control Technical Working Group.  Consultant)
  • Dr Shane O’Connell (SOC) (Marigot Ltd, Research and Development Manager. Consultant).
  • Sean McCarthy (SM) (Kerry Agribusiness, Sustainability Manager.  Consultant).
  • Ian Kennedy (IK) (DAFM Animal Feedingstuffs Section. Consultant)
  • Students:
    • Ian Hogan (IH) (BPS. Team member)
    • Students (feedback groups)

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