Karina Pierce is a 2019 Nuffield Scholar. Karina’s research topic ‘Future Proofing The Irish Agri-Food Sector Through Robust Research’ aims to evaluate if the future needs of the Irish agri-food industry are being addressed through current research.
Karina grew up on a sheep and suckler farm in Co. Wicklow. Married to Denis, they have two children, Niamh and Conor. Karina graduated with a BAgrSc in 2001 and completed her PhD in animal nutrition in 2005, both from UCD. She is currently Associate Professor of dairy production in UCD and coordinates the UCD/Teagasc degree programmes in Dairy Business and the Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management. She worked as an animal nutritionist with Brett Brothers in Kilkenny for two years before returning to UCD. Karina was a member of the Teagasc Authority 2013-2018 and was also President of the Agricultural Science Association in 2011/12.
She passionately believes that research, and investment in research, is critically important for the continued growth of the agri-food sector in Ireland. Research is important, not only a driver of innovation, but to ensure that we can be proactive, rather than reactive, with evidence-based responses for consumers of Irish produce on important issues as required. Topical issues at present include the impact of agriculture on the environment, animal welfare, human health concerns etc. However, there may be other issues that are not receiving sufficient attention currently and may become key issues for consumers in the coming years.
It is of interest to know where research funds are being focussed in other significant agri-food countries and major food companies, to learn more about contributions of private industry internationally to research and development and how private industry interacts with public funding bodies in other countries to ensure the best independent research is available to farmers and the wider industry. During her Nuffield, Karina plans to travel to China, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand to address her study topic.
Karina was appointed to the Nuffield Board of Directors in December 2020 as New Scholar Director.
Future-proofing the Irish agri-food sector through robust research