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Agri-tech Conference explored food resilience in COVID age

Together with the Agri-Tech Centres, Agri-EPI organised the Virtual Conference ‘Innovation for Food Resilience’. The event, hosted by BBC Farming Today presenter Charlotte Smith, was designed to showcase and discuss a host of new technologies and techniques helping farming and food production to become more resilient and sustainable. The conference gathered an incredible interest: over 1200 delegates attended the conference and over 20 countries took part. Recordings are made available on demand for those unable to join on the day.

Accelerating agrifood innovation

‘Innovation for Food Resilience’ features insights into key challenges and opportunities for the food and farming sector from industry thought leaders and how new technologies and solutions being developed across the family of UK Agri-Tech Centres could play a pivotal role in supporting productivity and sustainability.

Professor Tim Benton, from international affairs think tank Chatham House, has a clear message about the need to adapt to frequent and unpredictable change and how building resilience is a key strategy for being able to effectively adjust.

NFU President Minette Batters focuses on UK trade and transition and the seismic impact that the current unknowns will have on farming businesses. She highlights how data and innovation can empower farmers to avoid risk and the opportunity for farming to offset carbon for other sectors

Ellen Wilson, Microsoft UK’s Sustainability and Smart Cities Lead highlights the importance of measuring your own journey to sustainability to effectively manage and understand the impact achieved.   Evidence points to sustainability being better for business.

Food resilience and innovation in agriculture

The 4 Agri-Tech Centres explored different aspects of the work underway to promote innovation throughout the food supply chain. Themes covered are climate smart food systems, sustainable productivity, crop and livestock health, and food provenance and quality.

In particular, CHAP’s Dr Harry Langford, spoke about Climate Resilient Food Systems, highlighting the work of CIEL’s Duchy Future Farm; Agri-EPI Centre’s Hands Free Farm and Gelponics, a CHAP project focusing on developing an autonomous, hydroponic system centered around a novel hydrogel growing media. Another project he talked about was the Agrimetrics’ regenerative agriculture platform regenagri, an initiative aimed at securing the health of the land and the wealth of those who live on it.

Stuart Blyth, Head of Business Development of CIEL, covered Food Safety and Provenance, using CIEL’s Agriplas, a cold plasma research facility investigating the potential uses of the antimicrobial properties of this pioneering technology for the food industry. He also spoke about CHAP’s NLG Centre and Crop Storage facility, and Agri-EPI Centre’s Opti-beef project as a good example of the wide range of work being done in this area. The Opti-Beef project is about creating an enhanced decision support platform to modernise, standardise, and drive efficiency improvements across the UK beef supply chain.

Dr Shamal Mohammed, Chief Technical Officer at Agri-EPI Centre looked at Sustainable Productivity, including CHAP’s Soil Health Facility, Agrimetric’s Verde Analytics and CIEL’s Precision Grazing. Last but not least, Anna Woodley, Agrimetrics Head of Sales, covered Crop and Livestock Health with a focus on looking at whole systems rather than managing risks in isolation.

Presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session, with lots of interaction from delegates across the globe. Closing remarks, by Dr Ian Campbell, interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, provide the key ‘takeaways’ from the event. In particular, he notes how collaboration is key and how the combined capability of the UK Agri-Tech Centres offers the front door for industry to world leading expertise and capabilities.

View on demand

The event can be viewed in its entirety on the UK Agri-Tech Centres YouTube channel.

Event impression

Get in touch

Let us know what Agri-EPI, together with the Agri-Tech Centres, can do for your organisation or how we can inspire innovation in agriculture even further and fill out our contact form.

Space technology: Calling all ‘astropreneurs’!

Agri-EPI Centre and its fellow UK Agri-Tech Centre Agrimetrics are taking part in a webinar on Tuesday 19th May for start-ups and SMEs interested in the role space technology can play in sustainable agriculture.

The Centres are teaming up with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Horizon 2020 Astropreneurs Space Startup Accelerator, which seeks to turn space-related ideas into viable businesses. Due to finish at the end of December 2020, the programme provides successful applicants with business, commercial and technical mentoring and training.

Agri-EPI Project Manager, Freddie Reed, will talk about how satellite imagery is current being utilised within the organisation’s network of 28 innovative farms. Agri-EPI works with this network to develop, evaluate and share information about new technologies and techniques.

Agrimetrics’ Chief Product Officer, Matthew Smith, will discuss the commercialisation of space data through the data marketplace.

Nick Trigg is Innovation Manager at the Science and Technology Facilities Council and UK manager for the Astropreneurs programme.  He will give a rundown on the space data that is available, and how it can be accessed.

Nick said:

“The space sector has a huge amount of technology that is useful for other sectors and this webinar will show how far sighted and technology driven the agriculture sector really is.  Both Agri-EPI and Agrimetrics are at the forefront of agriculture’s drive into these new technologies and it is great to have a them talking at this webinar.”

The webinar takes place at 10am (BST) on Tuesday May 19. Sign up here.

UK Agri-Tech Centres of Agricultural Innovation unveil shared vision online

The four UK Agri-Tech Centres have come together as one voice to showcase their commitment to positioning the UK sector as a global leader in sustainable food production.

A new website launched last month at the Agri-Tech Centres ‘capability showcase’ event organised by Innovate UK at Newport, Shropshire, summarises the vision, aims and achievements of the four Centres. In line with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy to Create a Better Britain, the four Centres are positioned to provide the expertise, infrastructure and commitment to deliver innovation and new growth for the UK agrifood sector.

UK AgriTech Centres banner

Each Centre has its own unique focus and purpose:

  • CHAP is fundamentally changing the way plant disease and pest threats are managed;
  • CIEL is driving new industry-led research to deliver sustainable animal production;
  • Agri-EPI Centre is accelerating the uptake of precision engineering solutions;
  • Agrimetrics is harnessing data to identify new agrifood solutions outside the scope of traditional thinking.

“It’s important that each Centre focusses on their specific objectives, but also, that they work together to address some of our most pressing food challenges that no one Centre can address alone.”

~ Innovate UK’s Calum Murray

This new website provides new and existing audiences alike with an inspiring and compelling summary of why the Agri-Tech Centres are so important to UK food and farming – and what each Centre sets out to deliver.

Discover more about the vision, aims and impacts of the Agri-Tech Centres at www.agritechcentres.com

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

Successful UK Agri-Tech Centres Capability Showcase

Born out of the UK Agri-tech Strategy in 2013, the 4 UK’s Agri-Tech Innovation Centres came together on March 21st at the Agri-EPI Centre Newport Hub in Shropshire to meet with 140 key decision makers from industry, trade associations and policy makers. The objective was to show the progress that is made in the last two years and inform industry how to engage with the Centres to address their business needs and how the centres can be of service. The Newport Hub located at Harper Adams University is one of three such facilities being developed by Agri-EPI Centre around the UK, and despite having only just opened has tenants waiting to move in.

UK Agri-Tech Centres of Agricultural Innovation

Four Agri-Tech Centres: One Vision

The launch of www.agritechcentres.com was announced at the start of the event. The collective website, initiated by the four Agricultural Innovation Technology Centres Agri-EPI Centre, Agrimetrics, CHAP Solutions and CIEL Livestock, is to set out the ‘Four Centres One Vision’ collaboration between the Agri-Tech Centres as one, unified message.

Programme

The day included different elements, such as series of interactive short talks, video displays, discussions and field demonstrations. Guests were divided in different tour groups, which was part of the registration process, each in their own field of industry to ensure and maximise relevance. The demonstrations were widespread: the latest dairy technologies; LED lighting that increases crop productivity; thermal imaging for farms; big data support. Overall, the event allowed both Tech Centres as well as the key decision makers in the wide AgriTech industry to enhance the network that will have a positive influence on new collaborations and business opportunities.

Event photo impression

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

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