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Dr Clare O'Grady Walshe

Research Fellow/ Director Seed Sovereignty Group



Dr Clare O’ Grady Walshe is a Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. She is the Director of the newly established Seed Sovereignty Group in the Discipline of Botany and Geography, School of Natural Sciences, at Trinity College Dublin, working with Professor Jennifer McElwain (Chair of Botany) and Professor Anna Davies (Geography) as Principal Investigators. Established in October 2020, with funding from The Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation, the purpose of the TCD Seed Sovereignty Group is to establish a Seed Sovereignty Centre at Trinity College Dublin in 2021. With a focus on seed sovereignty, (the right to sow, save, use, share, breed and determine own seed futures), the centre will be an important third-level responder to the transformative shift in global consciousness on the importance of seed sovereignty, not just in saving the planet’s rich, shared biocultural diversity, but simultaneously acting as the best buffer against climate change and other shocks which threaten food security, all central features of Dr O’ Grady Walshe’s research interests. The centre will provide cutting-edge peer-reviewed academic research, innovative and participatory pedagogical programmes, and global, national and local level links with practical application.

Dr O’ Grady Walshe has been an author and independent researcher specialising in seed and biodiversity politics for over a decade. She has served on the Irish Aid Advisory Committee, The Heritage Council, the Irish Government High-Level Task Force on Green Enterprise, and as a voluntary board member of the Irish Seed Savers Association and Northern Ireland based charity Children in Crossfire. She has been involved with Action from Ireland (Afri) for over 25 years including coordination of their cross-border, cross-community development education programme for over a decade.  She has also served as the Executive Director of Greenpeace in Ireland and as a Trustee of Greenpeace International and a voting member of Greenpeace UK and Ukraine. 

Dr O’ Grady Walshe originally hails from Co. Wexford, thereafter moving to Cork where she received her B.Soc.Sc (1986) and M.A. Sociology on ‘Cultural Perspectives on Development: A Case study of Nicaragua 1979-1990’ (2004) from University College Cork. She was awarded a scholarship from the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University where she completed her PhD (2018) and her post-doctoral fellowship, and is a research associate of the school.

Dr O’Grady Walshe’s doctoral and post-doctoral research focussed on seed sovereignty and globalisation in the context of international relations, with particular reference to recent seed laws/policies and emerging value chains in East Africa and the transnational governance of plant genetic resources in the context of climate change.  Her book on this topic, which is now available in paperback (May 2020),  has been nominated by Palgrave Macmillan Publishers for the 2021 Agarwal Prize from the International Association for Feminist Economics. 

Book publication

  • 2019: Globalisation and Seed Sovereignty in Sub-Saharan Africa, International Political Economy Series, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 265, ISBN 978-3-030-12869-2.

Conference presentation

  • 2017: ‘Sovereignty, Human Security and Globalisation: The Case of Seed Sovereignty in Sub-Saharan Africa’ – Presentation at International Colloquium in the Basque Country on ‘The Future of Food and Challenges for Agriculture in the 21st Century’. Available at:

Reports and Publications

Appointment to Boards, Councils, Committees:

  • 2020-2023: Appointed Chair of the Irish/UK Advisory Council of the Seed Sovereignty Programme for the Gaia Foundation
  • 2012: Invited to Chair Organic Board by Minister of State at Department of Agriculture
  • 2009: Appointed to the Government's High Level Task Force on Green Enterprise by Minister for Energy
  • 2008 – 2011: Children in Crossfire Board Member (Voluntary)
  • 2008 – 2013: Irish Seed Savers Association Board Member (Voluntary). Honorary Member, and actively engaged as a seedsaver.
  • 2000 – 2002: Appointed to Irish Aid Advisory Committee by Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • 2000 – 2002: Appointed to The Heritage Council by Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs
  • 2000: Nominated for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Fellowship Award by the Irish chapter of the Eisenhower Fellowship Committee.

Teaching and Lecturing experience

  • 2019: Guest Lecturer, Masters in Development Practice, Trinity College Dublin: Globalisation and African Development: Human Security and Conflict Resolution; and module on Land and Agrarian Restructuring
  • 2019: Undergraduate Lecturing, Africa and Globalisation, Geography Department, Trinity College, Dublin: HIV/AIDS, Gender and Sexual Politics, and Climate and Gender
  • 2016-2017: Taught Core Skills and Methods for International Relations, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University
  • 2010-2012: Lecturer on the newly established Masters in Development Practice at Trinity College Dublin: Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development Module, specialising in Food Politics, Agroecological Projects, and Poverty Reduction
  • 2011-2012: Lecturer Geography Department Trinity College Dublin (TCD): Africa Globalisation and Development - 4th year Degree Course
  • 2010-2011: Guest Lecturer at DCU School of Law and Government Masters in International Relations
  • 2000-2012: Guest lecturer at the Kimmage Manor Development Studies
  • 1995-1996: Part-time Lecturer in Sociology (Module: Environment and Environmentalism) Faculty of Business, Economic and Social Studies, Trinity College Dublin


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