Prof Charles Spillane
Ryan Institute and Chair of IFIAD
Established Professor (Chair) of Plant Science & Director of Ryan Institute for Sustainable Development, National University College Galway
Prof. Spillane established the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) in NUI Galway, and also the Masters degree programs in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (MScCCAFS) in partnership with the CGIAR’s Global Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) CRP programme. In 2017, Prof. Spillane was appointed as the Director of the Ryan Institute for Sustainable Development at NUI Galway, where he leads the strategic development of the Ryan Institute as NUI Galway’s largest research institute spanning the entire university. The Ryan Institute is comprised of 100 research groups and 12 research centres with over 500 full time researchers, including 111 Postdoctoral Fellows, 54 Research Assistants, and over 243 PhD students. The Ryan Institute has four thematic research areas, including agriculture and bioeconomy, which are aligned to impact pathways and theories of change relating to realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Vice Chair of IFIAD
University College Galway
Director of the Masters in International Development Practice, School of Geography & Ryan Institute for Sustainable Development –University College Galway
Dr Una Murray lectures in policy and programme planning, and lectures on gender and climate justice on a MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Una began her international development career at FAO in the 1990s, and since 2000 began working more broadly as an Evaluator and Consultant across a wide range of UN organisations (e.g. ILO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNECE, UN Vienna), as well as bilateral organisations (including Irish Aid, DFID), focusing on topics such as migration, labour, social protection, gender, and social inclusion across a range of sectors (agriculture, climate). Most recently, in 2022, Una worked with the FAO NENA office to be the key editor for the NENA region State of the World Land and Water Resources. She worked as a gender advisor on FAO projects including a Lao PDR on a rice-fish aquaculture for UNDP/FAO project; an FAO/EU earthquake rehabilitation project in the Philippines (CASCADE).
Self Help Africa
Orla Kilcullen, has been Programmes Director with Self Help Africa since 2015. She has field and head office experience in long-term development programming through innovative approaches in agriculture and agribusiness and in emergency programming with prior experience in the private sector as a commercial bid manager. Her experience includes strategy development and implementing and supporting programmes in South America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Self Help Africa (SHA) is an international NGO dedicated to the vision of an economically thriving and resilient rural Africa. Headquartered in Ireland, SHA creates scalable and sustainable solutions to eradicating long-term poverty through knowledge transfer, investment, and market linkages.
In 2021, Self Help Africa merged with United Purpose. This doubled our size and created an international NGO that is implementing projects to end extreme hunger and poverty across 17 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. Collectively a part of the wider Gorta Group, which also includes social enterprise subsidiaries Partner Africa, TruTrade and Cumo Microfinance, the organisation will work with close to six million people this year.
Dept. of Foreign Affairs
Sustainable Food Systems Ireland
David Butler, Head of Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI), has over 25 years’ experience in the delivery of publicly funded developmental services and projects in the fields of agri-food, SME development, investment promotion and new market development. He is responsible for oversight and management of all SFSI operations and the technical assistance and co-operation projects that it undertakes around the world. Prior to joining SFSI, David managed the food investment promotion programme of Enterprise Ireland.
He also worked in enterprise development with the same organisation and was Commercial Counsellor/Enterprise Ireland Country Manager at the Embassy of Ireland in Budapest, Hungary between 2005 and 2010. Prior to this David worked with IDA Ireland in investment promotion, and private sector trade and SME consultancy roles. He has a BComm Degree from University College Dublin and a Master of Business Studies Degree from the Smurfit Graduate School of Business.
Paul is Head of International Relations and Corporate Strategy
Previously, Paul Maher led the strategic development and modernisation of the Teagasc advisory and life-long learning programmes in his role as Assistant Director of Knowledge Transfer. Prior to that he worked in Teagasc in organisation wide functions such as business evaluation, business planning and risk management as well as farm financial management, advisory and education roles. He also worked in Ireland and New Zealand in commercial and agri-extension roles. He is a graduate of UCD with a Bachelor and Masters in Agricultural Science and also holds a post graduate qualification in business studies from WIT.
International Development Unit Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Self Help Africa
Paul Wagstaff is the Head of the Global Technical Advisory and Research Team, Self Help Africa
Before joining SHA Paul was an agriculture advisor with Concern Worldwide, working on Climate Smart Agriculture, Conservation Agriculture, agriculture and nutrition, crop protection, soil and water conservation, and rodent control in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. While working for Concern he provided technical support to the CRAM project in Chad on the interactions between agriculture, livestock, climate change and child nutrition, which triggered his interest in the One Health debate. Paul has a MSc in Tropical Agroforestry, lived in East Africa and Nepal and has worked for a range of National Governments, the EU and development NGOs.
Head of Programmes – VITA