Springboard Banner 2024

Course Overview

The Masters in AgInnovation is a one-year programme that provides students with the concepts needed to develop technological solutions to the problems confronting Irish agriculture and the food sector.  The course combines MIT’s "Disciplined Entrepreneurship" curriculum with concepts from design thinking and customer discovery.  An important feature of the course is that students learn to work with a variety of groups to understand needs and opportunities.  The course highlights both business analysis as well as communication skills so that the programme’s graduates are well-equipped to either launch their own enterprise or manage innovation projects within a larger organization.  Funded by HEA through its Springboard programme https://springboardcourses.ie/details/14235, AgInnovate is delivered as a mix of on-line lectures and monthly sessions on campus.

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

  • Identify areas for innovation specifically within the agri-domain
  • Launch innovation-driven enterprises or 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 that will help manage the innovation process. You do not need to bring an idea to the course as we will help you identify opportunities ripe for Innovation. We foster a learn by doing atmosphere with experiential learning at the heart of this MSc.

*Closing date
Since the programme is supported by Springboard+ with funds from the Irish government and the EU, applications are normally due before or around 15 August annually. However, if warranted, the application deadline can be extended until the programme commecnes in mid-September 2024.

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree, first or second 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 may be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the programme.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


1 year, distance education

Next start date

September 20234

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

*See detail under "Course Overview".

NFQ level

Mode of study

Distance Learning

ECTS weighting



Course code


Course Outline

This course teaches people how to:  

  • Identify areas for innovation specifically within the agri-domain;  
  • Create innovation-driven enterprises or new business units within an existing company. 

Particular consideration is given to helping participants address:  

  • Challenges around commercialising innovations (ideas and technologies);  
  • Business constraints and guidelines (margins, CAGR, lifetime value, COCA, etc.);  
  • Other difficulties related to getting new agri-products to sizeable markets;  
  • Communication skills and self-awareness vital to creating successful innovation-driven enterprises.  

Building on the TechInnovate programme at University of Galway, this MSc in AgInnovation has three core pillars:  

Agri-Needs Finding: Students learn the fundamentals of ethnographic research [i.e., observation, interviews, and surveys] which allows them to conduct 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 since it allows students to investigate specific, real-world needs of the agricultural sector and use those insights to develop sustainable solutions.  

MIT's Disciplined Entrepreneurship: The successful and real-world oriented "Disciplined Entrepreneurship", 24-step process from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) forms the basis for developing minimal viable business products (MVBP) for the agri-domain.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Knowledge and innovation are essential helping the agricultural sector to meet challenges that the world is currently facing including food insecurity, climate change, sustainability, and health. Every challenge is an opportunity and with this course we will help you breakdown complex problems to find where innovation can help bring about change. This course will provide you with the essential skills in understanding modern innovation systems and processes and these skills 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 but need a better understanding of the dynamics of innovation.  We focus on turning insights / challenges /problems into a customer’s needs and then taking a step-by-step approach to designing products or 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 innovators also addresses 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.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€8,200 p.a. (including levy) 2024/25

Fees: Tuition

€8,060 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€25,500 p.a. (€25,640 p.a. including levy) 2024/25

Course is government-funded, via Springboard scheme: https://springboardcourses.ie/details/14235

Find out More

Professor W Bernard Carlson
E: walterbernard.carlson@universityofgalway.ie

Postgraduate Scholarships