MSc in AgInnovation (MSc in AgInnovation)

National University of Ireland, Galway (1AGI1)
Key Programme Details

MSc in Ag Innovation

NFQ Level

Level 9 About NFQ

Delivery Method



Part Time

ECTS Credits




General Information

Brendan Allen



Email for a call back


Alice Perry Engineering Building
NUI Galway
University Road


Programme manager

Important Dates
Application Deadline


Start Date


End Date


About this Course

This Masters in AgInnovation course, a one-year distance education/blended learning entrepreneurship development programme, aims to fill the gap in terms of entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship skills for the agri-ecosystem in Ireland. Key stakeholders include micro, small, medium and large agri-companies as well as farmers.

The aim of this course is to teach people how to:

* Identify areas for innovation specifically within the agri-domain
* Create innovation-driven enterprises or to create new business units within an existing company

Particular consideration is given to helping participants address:

* Identifying opportunities through design thinking and opportunity recognition
* Developing concepts and validating markets;
* Other difficulties related to getting new products to markets.
Our focus is on developing students critical thinking, curiosity and utilising a range of tools than will help manage the innovation process. You do not need to bring an idea to the course as we will facilitate and harness the ability to identify opportunities ripe for Innovation. We foster a learn by doing atmosphere with experiential learning at the heart of this MSc.


This course will help participants increase their skills, share best practices and to accelerate innovation maturation and transfer into business. The three main areas it will deliver skills in are with regards to:

- better comprehension of all business constraints with respect to teaching participants how to create companies specifically in the agri-sector;
- stimulation of entrepreneurial spirit, foster innovation and improve entrepreneurial skills;
- understanding the challenges and gaps behind innovation leading to markets.

The course is delivered by practicing entrepreneurs and specialist innovation educators. Although the focus in on agriculture the key learnings from this course are applicable to most sectors.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree, 1st or 2nd class honours in any discipline, along with three years of relevant industrial experience; or an Ordinary or 3rd class honours undergraduate degree, along with five years of relevant industrial experience; or a recognised professional qualification and five years of relevant industrial experience.

Candidates who do not meet the minimum entry criteria are encouraged to contact the programme’s administrators to discuss eligibility through RPL and may be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the programme.

Long Description

Built on the successful AgInnovate Process at NUI Galway, this MSc in AgInnovation has three core pillars:

Agri-Needs Finding:
Students will learn the fundamentals of ethnographic research in the form of Primary Market Research, market validation and problem definition specific to the agricultural environment.

Design Thinking for the Agri-Sector:
The Design Thinking methodology is particularly relevant to those interested in innovation in the agricultural domain. This process requires a focus on the problem being addressed in its real-world agri-context to facilitate the development of a sustainable response.

MIT’s 24 Steps of Disciplined Entrepreneurship:
The successful and real-world orientated “Disciplined Entrepreneurship” 24-step process from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) forms the basis for minimal viable business product (MVBP) development within the agri-domain.

Participates will design products or services which are more adapted to the market and ready for sustainable, scalable growth. The course will include customer-focused problem identification, problem validation, market analysis, technology viability assessment, competitive positioning, team building, product lifecycle planning, marketing strategy, and sales channel analysis. Comprehensive agri-focused business plans will be developed. With the help and advice of professionals, in close contact with experts in different fields (finance, intellectual property rights , etc.), students will receive support for developing an innovative agri-project. Our project-oriented approach facilitates progress around validated problems relevant to employment or personal interest with a view to innovating to meet such identified agri-needs.

The programme is delivered via a distance education/blended learning model which provides the learner with flexibility in choosing when and where they wish to study.

Why Choose This Course

Knowledge and innovation have a key role to play in helping the agri-sector to meet challenges of today and tomorrow (EU Commission 2019). Innovation will be essential in addressing the various challenges the world faces (Climate change, sustainability, health, inequity etc). Every challenge is an opportunity and with this course we will help you breakdown complex problems to find where innovation will play a role in driving change. This course will impact essential skills in understanding modern innovation systems and processes which can be applied to many aspects of life from business, social enterprise and communities.

This course can help any individual, farmers or those engaged within the agri-domain who often have great ideas, and need a better understanding of innovation and its dynamics. We will focus on turning insights / challenges /problems into a customer’s needs and then taking a step by step approach to designing products/services along with an enterprise to achieve successful commercialisation. This course is also suitable for people that want to drive change within an organisation. Within existing businesses, skilled and engaged employees can pursue new ideas that support the mission and vision of the business, thereby supporting it to launch new products and services or pursue new markets. Delivering these skills to future intrapreneurs is also addressing the fact that many businesses are now in an increasingly challenging, noisy and competitive marketplace, with millennial job hopping becoming more common. Enterprises that can support employees’ aspiration to try out are ideas through structured, supportive process may experience a higher retention rate of valuable, committed and enthusiastic staff.

We believe in instilling growth mindsets in all students to help achieve their potential, fostering a culture of respect and fairness among the staff and students involved and facilitating courage and bravery as foundations of innovation.

Career Opportunities

Employment in the agriculture/forestry/fishing sector in the Western (and broader BMW) region makes up 8% of regional employment (CSO, 2017). This has, for a number of years, exceeded that of the rest of the state which has about 5% in the sector. Agriculture, particularly in the West of Ireland, represents a significant proportion of Irish industry and exports (nationally, the sector is worth €13.54 billion according to Teagasc). This sector will benefit from the development of more innovation-driven, sustainable and scalable agri-enterprises.

We aim to create the job creators of the future both as new venture creators and innovators within organisations. Key words in Job titles that graduates would develop skills in are:
- Founder
- Innovation manager
- Head of Innovation
- Business manager
- New product development
- Design thinking
- Sales
As a level 9 programme this course will advance your critical thinking skills, enhance your communication abilities and make you customer focused by building empathy for people. We also cover various topics in creativity, team forming, mindsets and bias awareness all of which are transversal skills across many sectors.

Timetable Info

Part Time - Distance Education/Blended Learning

Module 1: AgInnovate I - Needs Finding (Semester 1)
Lectures and tutorials will take place via online platform. They will take place on a weekday and in the evening. Exact times and day of the week TBC.

Module 2: AgInnovate II - Ideation to Solution (Semester 2)
Lectures and tutorials will take place via online platform. They will take place on a weekday and in the evening. Exact times and day of the week TBC.

Module 3: AgInnovate III - Innovation Project (Semester 1 & 2)
Workshops and tutorials will take place via online platform. They will take place on a weekday and in the evening. Exact times and day of the week TBC. The delivery of this project will be supported by Modules 1 & 2.

Module 4: AgInnovate IV - Thesis Submission (Semester 3)
Modules 1-3 support the development of this deliverable and targets workshops thought the year will specifically focus on the timely development this component.

Due to COVID restrictions classroom based workshops will be not be held on campus at NUI Galway for September or October. These will be replaced by Saturday Online sessions and workshops. Thereafter, workshops will be held on Saturdays every 4-6 weeks throughout each semester and will support all modules on the programme. Exact dates, times and campus location are TBC

Delivery Location

See delivery notes for details

Delivery Notes

AgInnovate I: Agri-Needs Finding to Concept Generation (10 ECTS):
- Online materials (in the Blackboard site for the module) and guided reading;
- Weekly online evening lectures and workshops with associated activities and discussion;
- Monthly Saturday on campus lectures and workshops (moved online if required)
- Individual research on an identified, specific need.

Online attendance and participation is an essential component of this course as are periodic on-campus sessions (From November 2020 onwards). The following topics and will be covered and expanded with regard to a selected need:

- Introduction to structured process of needs finding
- Area analysis and stakeholders
- Weighing factors and filtering needs
- Needs brainstorming and introduction to product design
- Go-to-market basics
- Legal affairs basics
- Business models

AgInnovate II: Concept Development and Implementation (10 ECTS):
The following topics, grounded in the agri-domain, will be covered and expanded with regard to a student determined need:

- Research and development strategy
- Exploration of prototyping facilities
- Exploration of technology development
- Intellectual property strategy
- Financial modelling
- Prototype evaluation design
- Go-to-market strategy
- Funding sources; venture capital and angel funding
- Quality systems and assurance
- Licensing and alternate pathways

AgInnovate III: Innovation Project (40 ECTS):
Developed in parallel with AgInnovate I & II, students will work in teams or as individuals for the duration of Semesters 1 and 2 on identifying a real-world problem particular to the agri-domain that requires an insightful technological solution, inventing and implementing the solution, demonstrating its validity and commercial viability (and iteratively improving the solution if necessary), and developing pitches for internal RD&I leaders or external funding/risk capital.

AgInnovate IV: Minor Thesis (30 ECTS):
The overall goal is for the student to display the knowledge and capability for independent research work on agricultural innovation at postgraduate level. The minor dissertation enables the student to acquire deeper knowledge, comprehension, abilities and perspectives needed for conducting and completing independent long-term research projects as part of a new innovation driven enterprise or as a unit within an existing company. The student will be able to synthesise and communicate the knowledge and skills of their research, analysis and conceptualisation, demonstrating their skills in writing, and using standard conventions for bibliographies, citations, sources, etc. Students will submit proposals to potential supervisors early in the second semester, with the final research topic to be agreed upon in consultation with the supervisor.

The student will submit their original piece of primary research on a topic of relevance to their agricultural innovation specialism in an article-based format: a 5,000 word article which is ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal of agri-domain relevance, plus a 2,000 word literature review and 2,000 word defence of the chosen research methods/methodologies.

Admissions Contact Details
Contact Person

Arline Broder


Alice Perry Engineering Building
NUI Galway
University Road


Out of office. Please email to request a call back


RPL Information

Please contact the programme administrator for details

Application Procedures

Please apply via the Springboard+ website.