Donegal crop scientist receives prestigious University College Dublin Innovation Award

Professor Fiona Doohan

Professor Fiona Doohan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science

Professor Fiona Doohan, a University College Dublin (UCD) crop scientist, who lives in Gortahork and who is originally from Falcarragh, has been awarded a prestigious University College Dublin (UCD) innovation award.

Professor Fiona Doohan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, has been awarded the 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Award, in recognition of excellence in innovation and of successes achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research or other intellectual activity over a number of years.

NovaUCD’s knowledge transfer team supports UCD’s research community to identify valuable research results and implement protection strategies, to explore commercialisation opportunities through licensing and spin-out company formation and to develop collaborations with industry.

As a crop scientist Professor Doohan’s research is focused on improving the sustainability of crop production systems in Ireland and globally, and enhancing the diversification, safety and transparency of Irish food systems and she has secured over €30 million in research funding to date.

She has filed a total of 14 invention disclosures with NovaUCD in areas such as novel endophytes and their use in improving yield and suppressing diseases in crops; genes conferring resistance to fungal diseases that attack cereals; a novel enzyme used to break down lignocellulose to produce bioethanol along with a method of transforming cells to improve crop traits.

A number of these inventions have been co-developed with collaborators in Teagasc and Trinity College Dublin. Seven of these inventions have been patented and three licence agreements have been signed with industry.

Professor Fiona Doohan is also a co-founder of e-Seed Crop Technology Solutions, a joint UCD-TCD spin-out company, which is focused on developing novel endophytes that can increase crop yields.

Professor Fiona Doohan said, “I am honoured to receive the 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Award. The enhanced global consumption of crop-based foods and the move within the EU and globally towards more sustainable agricultural practices mean that now, more than ever, we need innovation in crop science to ensure that the Irish agri-food sector continues to lead in the development of sustainable, traceable, quality foodstuffs."

Professor Doohan is also a Principal Investigator on several major national and international research initiatives, including CONSUS, Food Shield and Healthy Oats and the EU project INNOVAR.

A total of 7 Awards, including the NovaUCD Innovation Award, were announced today by NovaUCD during a virtual event to highlight successes made in areas of knowledge transfer, consultancy, entrepreneurship and the promotion of an innovation culture, by members of the UCD research, innovation and start-up community.

Watch a short video which highlights successes and achievements of the 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Awardees:

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said: “I would like to congratulate all those who have received 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Awards. These Awards were established to recognise and highlight the successes being made by members of our research and innovation community across the University.

"I wish them all continuing success in 2021 and the years ahead as they continue to shape the future and deliver impact for the economy and society through their commercialisation, consultancy, entrepreneurial and innovation activities.”

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