Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam

Waterford IT researchers prep for SFI smart agriculture centre

Life
Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam

7 November 2017

Researchers from Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) are set to join Science Foundation Ireland’s new smart agriculture research centre: FutureMilk.

Through the new centre, TSSG researchers will collaborate with agrifood and ICT research institutes, food and ICT companies.

Dr Donagh Berry from Teagasc has been appointed centre director and TSSG acting research director Sasitharan Balasubramaniam (pictured) has been named principal investigator.

Welcoming the announcement, WIT President Prof Willie Donnelly said: “FutureMilk will deliver innovative scientific solutions enabling the South East agriculture community realise its ambitious growth targets and develop new milk based products in an environmentally sustainable way.”

The FutureMilk Centre will be hosted by Teagasc in partnership with the Tyndall National Institute, TSSG and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics.

“The FutureMilk Centre aims to be an agent of growth for the Irish dairy industry by being a world leader in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying,” said Dr Berry.

“The vision of the FutureMilk Centre is to be a world leader in the agrifood technology sector through innovation and enhanced sustainability across the dairy supply chain, positively impacting the environment, animal well-being and the health of consumers. This will be achieved by greatly improving the soil-to-gut supply chain connectivity; thereby improving resource efficiency, better meeting consumers’ expectations and improving profitability and resilience.”

Dr Balasubramaniam said: “This opportunity will allow us to deliver solutions specifically for the agrifood technology sector, and to look at new emerging communication paradigms that will truly transform smart agriculture.

“By integrating these novel ideas for research in smart agriculture, will make Ireland address the issue of feeding the future population as we face more uncertain environmental conditions such as climate change.”

The FutureMilk principal investigator team are supported by 22 funded investigators, 43 academic collaborators and 46 industry collaborators. The centre will hire 30 post-doctoral researchers and 54 postgraduate students. For this, TSSG will be hiring six postdoctoral research fellows, 11 PhD students, and a site manager.

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