Dr O'Brien holds qualifications at MA, PhD and MBA level and is a member of the Teagasc Senior Management Team. He works on the development of Teagasc organisational policies and strategies, its relationships with international organisations, as well as leading its international agricultural development programme. He is chairman of Teagasc’s International Food Security Committee and in that capacity, he works closely with Irish Aid and international research organisations on research capacity building in Eastern Africa.
He has particular expertise in foresight and has produced a number of publications and delivered lectures internationally on foresight. He has contributed to national research policy initiatives in Ireland and to a number of Irish agricultural and food policy developments, including two recent industry-led strategies, Food Harvest 2020 (2010) and Food Wise 2025 (2015). He led the two major Foresight projects undertaken by Teagasc, namely Teagasc 2030 (2008) and Teagasc Technology Foresight 2035 (2016). He was also a member of the Third EU SCAR Foresight Expert Group, whose report-Sustainable Food Consumption and Production in a Resource-Constrained World, was published in 2011. He was a member of an International Expert Panel which developed a long-term science agenda for agriculture in Africa-Connecting Science-A Science Agenda for Transforming Agriculture in Africa (2014).
Chairman of the Board Dermot Byrne said of the appointment, "It is a tremendous boost to Vita's entire team to have someone of the calibre of Dr O'Brien accepting a seat on the Board. Teagasc is a vital and important partner for us, and Lance's knowledge, experience and passion for knowledge-led agriculture and it's potential in East Africa, as well as his proven commitment over a number of years, will undoubtedly enhance Vita's work going forward."