TEAGASC MSC WALSH SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY “Predicting the impact of climate change on Pasture-based Irish farms” Walsh Scholarships Ref Number 2023032

Background: The Irish grazing system is based on an extended grazing season and the maximisation of grass in the animals’ diet. However, grass growth is highly seasonal and is dependent on soil type and weather conditions. Therefore, climate change is expected to have a substantial impact on grass growth (both on yield and pattern), which could impact the sustainability of the pasture based Irish system.

This MSc will employ the Moorepark St Gilles grass growth (MoSt GG) model, which has been developed, evaluated and used for both research and applied farm management purposes. Different future climate projections for Ireland with different concentration pathway scenarios will be explored in this project. The pathways describe different climate futures, all of which are considered possible depending on the volume of greenhouse gases emitted in the near future.

The MoSt GG model will be used to predict the impact of climate change on grass growth and nitrogen (N) leaching across the entire country (at a grid resolution of 10 km2). Then, using the most relevant location identified in the first step, the Pasture based herd dynamic milk (PBHDM) model will be employed to simulate the impact of climate change on Irish grassland dairy farms at farm level, including optimal stocking rate to maintain forage self-sufficiency, concentrate feeding, milk production and N leaching.

Possible adaptation strategies will be tested to identify the most effective strategies to maximise grass utilisation while also resulting in minimal or no environmental impact. This MSc will allow the pasture based Irish sector to prepare for future climate change scenarios by developing future forecasts and effective adaptation strategies.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to travel to international conference as part of this MSc. The postgraduate student will also work with collaborators across Europe. If extra funding is available and the work deemed appropriate, this MSc could be upgrade to a PhD.


Applicants should hold (or expect to hold) a Bachelor’s degree (minimum 2.1) and/or an MSc/MEng degree in an appropriate discipline (Agricultural science, computer science, engineering or a similar discipline). Please see the minimum English language requirements for this position LINK.


This PhD is a joint research project between Teagasc Moorepark and Munster Technological University (Cork Campus). The successful candidate will be based in the Teagasc Research Centre at Moorepark, Co. Cork and complete coursework in MTU. The scholarship funding is €25,000 per annum and includes University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum and flat rate stipend of €19,000 per annum and is tenable for 2 years (possibly up to 4 years if a PhD is pursued).

Further Information: Please contact Dr Elodie Ruelle or Dr Michael Murphy for more information: Elodie.ruelle@teagasc.ie   &  MichaelD.Murphy@mtu.ie  

Application Procedure: Interested candidates should forward a letter of interest and CV, to Elodie Ruelle (elodie.ruelle@teagasc.ie)  with the subject line MoSt-Climate ref 2023032

Closing date: 15th of July 2023

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