Agri-EPI drive forward agri-food with new team appointments


Agri-EPI Centre is pleased to announce the expansion of its team following four key appointments. Chief Executive Dave Ross said: “This is an extremely busy and exciting time for Agri-EPI as we drive forward our goals to support a productive and sustainable agri-food sector, so I’m delighted to welcome such high calibre new faces to the team.”

Here an overview of new Agri-EPI team members:

Dr Shamal Mohammad

>Chief Technical Officer

Shamal is a leading expert in digital agriculture with a strong passion for transforming the industry by developing novel and practical solutions, using smart technologies, to help farmers and producers optimise food production and minimise adverse environmental impacts.

He worked with Agrii as a Head of Integrated Crop Technology and recently as a Regional Manager for soil, nutrition and precision agriculture. He led the implementation of Agrii’s Soil, Nutrition and Digital strategy and developed a new digital solution to map soil compaction as part of new soil health service.

Previously, Shamal was a consultant for Origin Enterprise PLC to develop a transformative research partnership with University College Dublin, securing €17.6M funding from Science Foundation Ireland to integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities into decision making in agronomy through a strong multi and inter-disciplinary research and technical teams.

Whilst at AHDB, Shamal developed many new relationships and partnerships in the areas of precision agriculture, soil and water, crop nutrition and the impact of cropping on the environment. He took on responsibility for leading a £1.6m program of soils R&D on behalf of AHDB.

He was awarded a PhD by Cranfield University in 2010 for his work in the application of remote sensing and geographic information systems to map irrigated potatoes in East Anglia and estimate the impact of climate change on future irrigation water requirements. Shamal was also a Visiting Research Fellow at Cranfield University where he researched and published a scientific article on the application of proximal soil sensor to map soil compaction for site-specific tillage.

Shamal will join Agri-EPI as a Chief Technical Officer on 23 April 2019. He will be based at Agri-EPI’s Southern Hub at Cranfield University but have a UK-wide remit. Shamal will with our partners and members to lead our journey to transform the agriculture industry by providing farmers and producers with a wide range of scientifically robust and commercially viable capabilities.

Humaira Raza

> Accountant

Humaira is an Accounting and Finance graduate and has worked in various sectors including Banking & Finance, Industry and Practice. She is currently studying towards her ACCA qualification to become a Chartered Accountant. Based at our Northern Hub in Edinburgh, she is responsible for daily processing of financial data, setting up financial reports and providing financial support to all organisational teams. Humaira believes that communication between all Hubs is key in ensuring the accounts run smoothly.

Philip Cassidy

>Livestock, Food and Aquaculture Project Manager

Phil has more than 20 years experience as a technical manager / director in chilled food manufacturing across a range of proteins; including fish, pork, red meat, poultry into the UK and European retail market. Serving customers such as M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrison’s, Co-op, Delhaize, Albert Heijn and Carrefour.

He has a postgraduate degree in food science and microbiology from University of Strathclyde, a first degree in agricultural chemistry from Glasgow University and a teaching qualification. He worked briefly for Scottish Food Quality Certification on various EN 45011 product quality certification schemes before moving into the food manufacturing sector.

Prior to that Phil was a lecturer in food technology and quality management at Lincoln University and Glasgow College of Food Technology and has experience in curriculum development and applied research projects in the food industry. Most recently Phil worked for Dawnfresh Seafoods, which is the UK’s largest trout producer, where he had responsibility for food safety and quality and latterly R&D. He had close involvement with Dawnfresh aquaculture in a vertically integrated supply chain from egg to plate.

Based at our Northern Hub in Edinburgh, Phil is looking forward to contributing positively to the growth and development of the Agri-EPI Centre. He will be project managing the Tail Tech and the newly launched Opti-beef projects. Phil’s additional responsibilities cover establishment of a food analysis laboratory and aquaculture initiatives.

Simone Foister

>Research and Development Scientist

Also based at our Northern Hub, Simone is a University of Edinburgh graduate and is in the final stages of completing her PhD in pig behaviour and welfare at the University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural College.

She joined Agri-EPI Centre to work on the TailTech project which aims to develop an early warning system for tail biting. Her role is to analyse data derived from 3D cameras and to develop statistical models that identify key risk factors.

Simone believes that automated monitoring of animals in agriculture has great potential for assisting farmers in better understanding and meeting the needs of their animals, which in turn will improve productivity and animal wellbeing.


We expect further expansion of the Agri-EPI team soon, so watch this space for updates. If you have general enquiries about working at Agri-EPI Centre, please contact our HR Manager:

Suzie Brown
T 0131 239 7100

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