CSDS affiliated researchers work across many disciplines on topics connected to Sustainable Development. Core projects based at the Centre include:

SFI funded Food-Shield: Helping Ireland’s AgriFood sector to bounce back

Lead Researchers: Professor Fiona DoohanUCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, Professor Chris Elliott, Queen’s University Belfast.

Ireland’s agricultural and food sector is key to our economy, including our exports. Covid-19 and Brexit pose major challenges to validating the safety and quality of food and animal feed, and this could have a major impact on Ireland’s ability to provide evidence to meet EU requirements. The Food-Shield project, supported by Science Foundation Ireland and the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), will help the Irish Agri-Food sector recover from delays and negative impacts associated with Covid-19 and assess their potential benefits at an all-Island level.

What is the issue?

Ireland’s food production sector is under threat from Covid-19 and Brexit, in part because they threaten our ability to validate food and feed safety and quality.

What will the research project do?

The Food-Shield project led by University College Dublin will develop prototype digital technologies, underpinned by economic analysis and potential policy interventions, to help the Irish Agri-Food sector to reduce delays and support Irish plant protein products using ubiquitous sensing, track and trace, food provenance and Internet of Things (IoT).

What will the impact be?

Food-Shield will help to build the robustness, agility and transparency of our food systems and so support them as they bounce back from Covid-19 and capitalise on new opportunities.

Professor Fiona Doohan said: “Food-Shield will help agriculture capitalise on the potential of track and trace systems to overcome threats and exploit new opportunities in the Agri-Food sector.”

Project Team

Lead Applicant Professor Fiona Doohan

Co-Applicant Professor Chris Elliott


Professor Cathal O’Donoghue (NUIG)

Prof. Patrick Paul Walsh (UCD)

Dr. Josephine Brennan (DAFM)

Ms. Grace Anne Hurrell, Foods Connected

Ms. Eithne Nic Lochlainn, Lárionad Amchainní Nádúrtha CTR

Mr. Fergal Monaghan, Hen Harrier Project

Dr. Fiona Gwendolen Roberts, Foods Connected

Prof. Gregory O’Hare, UCD

EPA Project Funding

Awarded to: Patrick Paul Walsh and Enda Murphy
Title: Framework for Achieving Environmental Sustainable Development Goals

The project will provide a governance, reporting and data needs framework for transitioning Ireland towards achieving environmental targets for the SDGs. This will represent the first such attempt in Ireland and will establish an important benchmark for understanding future SDG requirements in the environmental area. The research will: (1) supply the evidence-base for a national data map on the environmentally relevant official UN and EU SDG indicators; (2) provide a benchmark national environmental SDG Index in line with international best practice to comprehensively assess Ireland’s environmental status in relation to the SDGs and identify data needs for improving this index in the future; (3) identify gaps and conflicts in Irish environmental policy and legislation relative to global and EU-level SDG indicator sets; (4) review academic literature, international reports and national/regional initiatives on inclusive institutions for SDGs and multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs), and conduct interviews with UN HLPF stakeholder representatives in Ireland and abroad to identify current thinking on international best practices for MSPs; (5) mobilise this knowledge to develop innovative practical guidance to policy makers and relevant stakeholders on effective government enabled MSPs for assisting the delivery on the environmental SDGs.

Irish Research Government of Ireland Employment Based Postgraduate Scholarship

Awarded to: David Martyn supervised by Conor Glavin and Patrick Paul Walsh
Title: Understanding and Measuring Education Quality for Sustainable Development.

This project aims to improve education quality in under-resourced environments through improved use of technology. The principal investigator will interrogate understandings and narratives of education quality in Zambia. The aims are to, firstly, investigate how more contextualised metrics can be utilised by education system actors for decision making; secondly, gauge the relevance of this more contextualised knowledge for national and international policy and measurement systems, particularly in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.