Teagasc has appointed Dr Ewen Mullins as Head of the Crop Science Department, based in Oak Park, Carlow.
Dr Mullins qualified with a B.Sc. (Hons) from the National University of Maynooth, before graduating with a PhD in plant pathology from University College Cork. He subsequently completed a series of post-doctoral contracts to acquire skillsets in molecular biology and plant genetics.
A native of County Cork, Ewen joined Teagasc as a researcher in 2002 to investigate the agronomic and environmental impact of novel breeding techniques. Prior to that, his early career was spent working in the United States primarily at the Department of Plant Pathology, in Pennsylvania State University; and in the USDA-ARS Horticultural Research Lab in Orlando, Florida.
Speaking on his appointment, Ewen Mullins said: “Improving the competitiveness of our tillage sector is now critical. Ireland’s increasingly erratic climate, EU legislative changes on the use of Plant Protection Products, plus continued dairy expansion are collectively eroding the tillage sector’s sustainability. The Teagasc Crop Science department must develop viable, science based solutions that link through to practise. Strategically, our outputs must deliver evidence-based solutions that reduce productivity costs; develop novel rotational options; and future proof our cropping systems against biotic/abiotic stresses.”
Congratulating him on the appointment, John Spink, Head of the Teagasc Crops, Environment and Land use Programme said: “Ewen brings an excellent track record as a researcher, and has particular expertise in crop improvement which will be very valuable for the development of varieties which can be grown at lower cost and risk to the grower. His leadership of national and international collaborative research projects provides a platform for Teagasc to access the most up to date scientific knowledge for the benefit of Irish tillage growers. “
Dr Mullins is a member of the Royal Irish Academy’s (RIA) Life Sciences Committee and has also served on the European Academies Science Advisory Council’s working group on ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Crop Development’. A member of the Global Wheat Initiative’s Research Committee, he is also a member of the International Association of Plant Biotechnology, the European Association of Potato Research, the European Association for Research on Plant Breeding and the Society of Irish Plant Pathology.