Early Stage Researchers
Growing up in an environment where agriculture is the mainstay of development and a major source of livelihood, I’ve always had passion for agricultural development. I am from Nigeria and my bachelor’s degree in an interdisciplinary course in agriculture. My MSc is in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture from Exeter University, where I worked on the non-target effect of a specific biopesticide on certain soil microbes. Currently, I’m a PhD candidate in the Soil Biology Group at Wageningen University and Research and Devenish. My research seeks to explore how soil functions can be maximized to produce wholesome meat for healthy people in an environmentally friendly manner.
Maria Cecilia Ayala
I am a Veterinary from Argentina. I graduated from the University of Buenos Aires. I started my PhD with the Animal Production Systems group at Wageningen University and Devenish as part of the HeartLand program in October 2019. As a veterinarian back home, I worked with livestock and dairy farmers while doing a postgraduate program on sustainable farming systems, a subject that I have always been extremely passionate about.
In the middle of September 2019, I started my PhD at Farm Systems Ecology group at Wageningen University and Research, in the Netherlands and Devenish. Originally, I am an Agronomic Engineer from Brazil, where I have worked for an NGO named IMAFLORA for the last 12 years. During this time, I performed sustainable agriculture audits in different crops and countries of South America, mainly with Rainforest Alliance and Nespresso. I also have developed some certification standards for cattle and perennial crops with different stakeholders. Additionally, I have advised projects related to GHG emissions estimation and implementation of sustainable farming in value chains. In parallel, in the last years I did my Masters in Sustainable Supply Chain Management addressing social and environmental issues and managerial practices used by the Brazilian Amazon beef supplier to avoid risks related to sustainability. I am delighted to be part of the HeartLAND project, working with Devenish, at Lands of Dowth in Ireland, for a more healthy and sustainable society.”
I started my PhD with University College Dublin and Devenish as part of the HeartLand program in October 2019. I will be focusing on grassland research in particular the multispecies swards here at Dowth. I hold a BSc. from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc. in Organic farming from SRUC, Scotland. I also run an organic beef and sheep farm which has been certified organic for almost 30 years. My interests stem from my practical work on my own farm focusing on a holistic system which echoes Devenish’s ‘Soil to Society’ approach. I have also worked on ecologically focused farms in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from my interest in diverse multispecies grasslands I am also interested in soil health, biodiversity, agroforestry and how research knowledge is disseminated to farmers.