List Of Speakers Announced For The Upcoming SUAS Conference

List Of Speakers Announced For The Upcoming SUAS Conference

The SUAS Project is delighted to announce the full line up the SUAS Project Conference taking place on Thursday, November the 17th of November in the Glenview Hotel In county Wicklow.

The event will explore the key findings of the five-year project with a host of guest speakers, discussions and a guided field trip the day beforehand.

  • The keynote address will be delivered by Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett.
  • Conference Host and Guest Chair of the Panel Discussion, is Irish-based journalist and television presenter, Ella McSweeney.

International guest speakers include:

  • Professor Julia Aglionby, Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land and Chair of the Uplands Alliance – University of Cumbria.
  • Professor Davy McCraken, Professor of Agricultural Ecology and Head of both SRUC’s (Scotland’s Rural College) Hill & Mountain Research Centre and Integrated Land Management Department.

An overview of the SUAS Project’s extensive activities across the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands as well as providing detailed discussion on its outcomes and learnings, will be delivered by the Project Team:

  • Declan Byrne, Project Manager of the SUAS Project
  • Brian Dunne, Coordinator of Wicklow Uplands Council
  • Faith Wilson, Consultant Ecologist
  • Pat Dunne, Project Lead of the SUAS Operational Group

Launched in 2018 by Wicklow Uplands Council,  the ambitious project was established to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to the environmental and economic challenges facing hill-farmers in the Wicklow and Dublin uplands.

Having successfully received a funding allocation of €1.95M in the first round of the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI), the five-year project has grown to include 74 hill-farmers across 25 locations throughout the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands.

Shaping the landscape by incentivising hill farmers to improve upland habitats, there is currently over 7,500 hectares, much of which is designated Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), where initiatives such as peat and vegetation restoration, grazing management, tree planting, bracken control and the removal of invasive tree species are taking place.

One of the unique attributes to the project, is its work with commonage groups, assisting in establishing them into a formal structure to participate as a collective group and to undertake habit actions as part of an agreed multi-year management plan focussed on the sustainable usage of the land and to improve its overall biodiversity. Engagement with individual hill-farmers has also been a key strand to the project’s success.

By working collaboratively with hill-farmers across a range of different locations, the project has delivered meaningful habitat actions that have already begun to positively impact the sensitive biodiversity found in the uplands. This has been achieved through developing sustainable management plans, promoting appropriate grazing practices and the delivery of various vegetation management initiatives.

The SUAS project and the upcoming conference, offer great insights to how our uplands can be systematically managed with all of the stakeholders to ensure they remain healthy into the future.

The conference will share and discuss what has been observed over the last five-years and anyone with an interest in how our uplands are managed, whether it be from a farming, environmental or community viewpoint, are invited to attend.

Attending The Conference

To register to attend the complimentary conference, please visit the dedicated webpage HERE.

As part of the conference gathering, a field trip to a nearby upland farm participating in the project is open to everyone to attend on the afternoon beforehand, Wednesday the 16th. For more details, please email:


  • The SUAS Pilot Project is a five year project (2018-2022) and a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.