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DECEMBER 2018
Education
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
16
Soils for Society Conference
The UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science in conjunc-
tion with the UCD Earth Institute and the Soil Science Society
of Ireland organised a `Soils for Society' conference in UCD on
December 5th designated by the UN/FAO as World Soil Day.
The symposium focused solely on soils, their importance
and protection, as a non-renewable natural resource and as
natural capital that underpins all land-based ecosystem services
our society benefits from. In Ireland there is a need for more
appreciation of the fact that soils do not only provide food
but also many other ecosystem services for society, including
water regulation, carbon storage, as a habitat of biodiversity, as
a platform for infrastructure, and as an archive of our archaeo-
logical history. Since the withdrawal of the EU Soil Framework
Directive in 2014, soils and soil protection are supposed to be
incorporated in all environmental, sustainability and planning
policies. To achieve this, public engagement and discourse are
required with researchers, stakeholders and wider society about
soils, the state of our knowledge in regard to pressures on soils,
challenges and solutions.
The conference included a keynote talk by Jessica Davies, (UK)
and a presentation by eminent Irish soil scientist John Ryan.
Other talks. By academics and scientists working in various
soil-related areas, from environmental law to soil nutrient man-
agement, were also given and the afternoon session encom-
passed five talks by stakeholders including The Environmental
Pillar, Teagasc, and AFBI from Northern Ireland.
Agricultural sciences at University College Dublin are
among the best in the world, according to the latest
U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Now placed 19th globally, UCD is the only Irish uni-
versity to make the global top 50 in the rankings for
Agricultural sciences. It is also ranked 5th in Europe.
"This ranking is an achievement we are very proud
of," said Professor Alexander Evans, UCD Dean of
Agricultural Science.
"It reflects the hard work and commitment by our
faculty, staff and students."
"Looking at the elements that make up the U.S. News
ranking, it is noteworthy that UCD's normalised ci-
tation impact and the number of highly cited papers
that are among the top one percent most cited in
the area rank 7th and 3rd in the world respectively,"
he added. "The importance of agricultural science in
society is increasing steadily and UCD is pleased to
be acknowledged as a world leader in the area".
The US News subject rankings, which emphasise
academic research and reputation, employs 13 per-
formance indicators to determine placement.
These include a university's global and regional
research reputation, total citations, international
collaboration, and publications.
UCD was in the top three for institutions globally
with the most highly cited papers among academic
research. Over 252 universities were included in the
U.S. News Agricultural sciences subject rankings.
The list was put together using data gathered from
Clarivate Analytics' Academic Reputation Survey,
which profiles leading universities and research in-
stitutions, as well as the company's' Web of Science
platform for the period of 2012-2016.
UCD Ag Science
ranked among
the world's best