sustainability Archives - Agri-EPI Centre


Tag Archive for: sustainability

Aquanzo explores sustainable marine-based poultry feed alternative

Agri-EPI and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) visited Rastech Research CIC at the University of St Andrews in Scotland for a partner site visit to Aquanzo Production System facilities.

During this visit, attendees received an introduction to RASTech, followed by a detailed tour of the Aquanzo system. The team also met the production team, saw the new artemia grow-out system in action and learnt more about its workings.

Aquanzo is currently running a 24-month project funded by Innovate UK-DEFRA in collaboration with Agri-EPI Centre and SRUC, that focuses on developing technologies to farm a new source of marine protein, artemia, a marine zooplankton, sustainably at scale and on land. This explores the use of different agricultural by-products to produce artemia, in turn investigating the nutritional benefits on poultry gut health, lifetime growth, and performance. Overall, this project attempts to address the damaging environmental and cost impacts of harvesting marine ingredients from the wild for use in commercial young animal feeding.

Agri-EPI’s Lee Cocker, Project Manager of the Farmed Marine Protein project, said:

“The opportunity for Agri-EPI to support the farming of artemia as a potential new source of marine protein is an exciting one. Helping the project gain traction and witnessing the ramping up of its production system has been brilliant. It is great to read so many positive articles about the project across the aquaculture and livestock feed sectors.”

At the industrial scale, Aquanzo is forecasting production capacity of thousands of metric tonnes of artemia meal per year per industrial facility. Agri-EPI guides this project by providing life cycle analysis, measuring the environmental sustainability at each stage of its development, in addition to project management.

The Merage DeserTech Competition

Innovate UK and Agri-EPI Centre are pleased to announce their support for the 4th Merage DeserTech competition, an annual event aimed at accelerating innovative technologies addressing global desert challenges. This competition takes place in Be’er Sheva, Israel, and is dedicated to advancing sustainable solutions for arid climates. 

DeserTech’s vision is to establish Be’er Sheva and the Negev region as a prominent global hub for desert technologies. This initiative leverages existing technological and policy research resources, including Ben Gurion University and its Institutes for Desert Research, regional R&D centers, as well as prominent startups and corporations specializing in sustainable agriculture, energy, water, and infrastructure. 

The competition invites British startups to test and develop their solutions in the Negev desert, serving as an ideal testing ground for technologies in an increasingly arid world. With funding opportunities of up to £20,000, British startups can collaborate with trial partners in Israel to refine their technology. 

To participate and learn more about this competition, we invite you to register for an informative event scheduled for September 28th, UK time. During this event, you will gain insights into the unique advantages offered by Negev assets, engage in brainstorming sessions through one-on-one meetings, and begin the development of joint pilot projects. Winning startups may even secure funding for the execution of their pilot initiatives. 

To register for the event, simply follow the provided Zoom registration link.  

Don’t miss this chance to adapt your innovations for thriving in arid climates and to collaborate with Negev assets, your ideal partners for sustainable living in desert environments. Join the Launch Event and become a part of the solution to global desert challenges! 

Agri-EPI welcomes new Academic Partnerships Manager, Wendy Hewitson

Agri-EPI Centre has welcomed on board a new Academic Partnerships Manager to their team, Wendy Hewitson.

Wendy has a diverse background, with twenty years experience within the retail sector, followed by a further twelve years at Barclays, where she spent the last five as the AgriTech programme manager for Barclays Eagle Labs.

Wendy was one of the founders of the AgriTech Industry vertical for Barclays Eagle Labs, where she created and oversaw the delivery of many successful accelerators, events and industry focussed support material and programmes. She helped support much of the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout all areas of the food supply chain.

Wendy is passionate and highly effective at enabling knowledge transfer, sharing collaboration and growth opportunities with both agritech/agrifood innovators and key industry players within the UK.

Wendy said:

‘’I’m so excited to join Agri-EPI Centre. I’m hoping to help strengthen a collegiate approach between the expertise within academia, the innovative ecosystem, and the breadth of expertise that Agri-EPI centre provides to support the transition and transformation of the agricultural supply chain towards net zero.

The agricultural sector and food supply chain is an ever-changing environment, impacted daily by climatic, political, and societal pressures. It has such a breadth of un-tapped opportunities and capabilities. Having seen how technology, innovation, and collaboration has grown over the last five years I really see this as an opportunity to continue to broaden engagement and collaboration both nationally and globally.”

Agri-tech solutions for sustainable farming

At Agri-EPI Centre, we help to develop robust and commercially viable solutions to empower more sustainable farms. From bespoke validation trials to system and product development, we are a collaborator of choice for agri-tech developers, start-ups through to established companies.

We are open to new projects and partnerships that use agri-tech in both funded and private research which are focused on the health and welfare of soil, crops and animals in order to:

• increase efficiency

• enhance environmental sustainability

• ensure productivity and farm business sustainability

We provide a set of services to assist in the creation of agri-tech products through either commercial or grant funded projects. We assist in the development process through a strong technical team combining with a world class set of equipment and facilities.

Balancing productivity with environmental and business sustainability is a challenge at farm level, which will only become more scrutinised. We believe healthy soils provide a foundation for a resilient agri-food sector.

Relevant and affordable agri-tech has a part to play in supporting a sustainable farming system, whether its software to automate data capture, manage inputs and outputs for better decision making or hardware to optimise current processes, increase efficiencies, reduce emissions and provide precision application.

Agri-EPI is here to help with your tech development and offers the following resources.

Read more below:

Sustainable farming brochure

Ground-breaking technology to monitor biodiversity on-farm 24/7

40% of insect species risk extinction, and a further 30% are endangered (New Scientist 2019), yet few farmers have the tools to actively monitor or quantify on-farm biodiversity, despite it being an important measure of ecosystem, landscape, overall biological health of the farm and key public good. A joint collaborative project funded through Innovate UK and Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme, with organic farmer Sophie Alexander, Agri-EPI Centre, AgriSound, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Pollenize CIC and Chirrup AI will use technology to monitor biodiversity 24/7 on a dairy and arable farm in Dorset.

The project aims to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of digital technology as a means of remotely monitoring wildlife diversity in a farming context and address escalating ecological challenges through accurate quantification of nature in any one location. With biodiversity monitoring set to increase through the introduction of policies and schemes, it’s vital to assist ecologists with access to scalable remote technologies.

Three separate remote sensing digital technologies will detect, identify, and quantify varieties of invertebrates and birds in correlation to flowering plants that they rely on. Insect conservation and pollination innovator AgriSound, who specialise in remote insect technology and environmental sensors to monitor pollinator populations have installed three unique in-field sensor devices for automated insect monitoring as part of the project. The technology, Polly™ is optimised for attracting pollinators from a broad spectrum of local insects and detects 24/7 through the use of a specialised bioacoustics technology with data transmitted and stored securely, providing a comprehensive understanding of the pollinators on the farm.

Combining other data sets across the farm include Pollenize app to photograph and geolocate plant species. Chirrup AI will use artificial intelligence to monitor species of birds that are thriving on the farm. This, in turn, will reveal more about the diversity of bugs and seeds above ground, and the richness of life in the soil. The same transects monitored by the digital devices will be surveyed by a professional ecologist from Dorset Wildlife Trust to ground-truth the findings.

Sophie Alexander, farm owner of Hemsworth Farms, said:

“I believe it is important to establish our biodiversity baseline and to continue to monitor progress. There are too few experienced ecologists with sufficient time to manage it all. We are therefore pleased to be involved with testing the data collection capabilities of digital technologies to assist ecologists and in this case, Dorset Wildlife Trust to ground truth the information and demonstrate how an organic farming system can nurture wildlife as well as produce food.”

This early-stage feasibility project, bringing together a technology start up with RTO and end user, will explore emerging applications of remote sensing to inform the development of a commercially relevant solution. This will catalyse a pipeline of further R&D across a much wider area, new research collaborations and accelerate research translation and development of new solutions.

Casey Woodward, Founder and CEO of AgriSound, said:

“We are thrilled to be embarking on this exciting new R&D project with Agri-EPI Centre and Hemsworth Farms. It’s a tremendous opportunity for all parties involved to put AgriSound’s cutting-edge pollinator monitoring technology to the test in a real-world farming context. We truly believe this project has the potential to shed new light on all of the great work happening across British farms to improve local biodiversity.

“This collaboration not only underscores the importance of partnerships in driving forward sustainable agriculture but also showcases the immense value of innovative sensing technologies for biodiversity assessment which are being increasingly required as consumers expect produce sourced from sustainable agricultural practices. We anticipate that the insights gained from this project will not only help Hemsworth Farms to better understand and manage biodiversity on their own sites but also act as an example for the wider industry, demonstrating how technology can be harnessed to promote biodiversity and sustainable farming practices.”

Women in Engineering Day 2023

This Women in Engineering day we are celebrating the work and achievements of women engineers around the world. At Agri-EPI, we celebrate our CTO Trisha Toop and Agri-Tech Sustainability Analyst, Emily Laskin, who come from engineering backgrounds and who are leading Agri-EPI’s sustainability efforts.

Trisha has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, genetics, and biochemistry and has worked as a research scientist, sustainability and techno-economic analysis expert, and innovation manager for a number of companies. She brings her passion for engineering and sustainable innovation to her work as CTO, and has spearheaded Agri-EPI’s new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) offering within the company.

Trisha said:

“Engineering has broken free from the confines of its male-dominated stereotype, embracing a new era where it thrives on smart design and the pursuit of efficiencies.”

Emily studied Biosystems Engineering at the University of California, Davis, and has spent the last few years supporting technical activity across AEC’s commercial farm network. She is now a qualified LCA practitioner, delivering sustainability analyses of R&D projects for agricultural clients across the UK. She leads in providing a framework for sustainability within Agri-EPI.

Emily said:

“Engineering is a hugely important tool for improving the sustainability of our food systems. There is so much opportunity in this field – I would encourage any young engineers to consider applying their skills to agricultural technology.”

This Women in Engineering day serves as a testament to the invaluable contributions of women like Trisha and Emily, whose passion and expertise are transforming the field of engineering and forging a path toward a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Tag Archive for: sustainability

Midlands Agri-Tech Coffee Hour (MATCH) Lunch

Agri-EPI in collaboration with The School of Sustainable Food and Farming invites you to attend our networking lunch on the 11th October.

This event is sponsored by Jonathan Lee Recruitment.

Use this opportunity to chat and get to know each other, fostering new connections and opportunities for collaboration within Agri-Tech. This will also be your opportunity to find out more about our upcoming fully funded Start Up programme.

We know that when you have an innovative idea that making those initial steps into starting your own business can be daunting, not having the right support or knowing where to turn can make it a difficult pathway to follow.

If you, or someone you know that has a great idea. Or indeed if you want share some of the pitfalls you encountered when you took this leap of faith, we’d love you to join us.

We’d love for you to help shape the next generation of innovative businesses that are set to challenge / disrupt the industry and support it to achieve net zero, eliminate inequalities and be an integral part in the delivery of the sustainable development goals globally .

At Agri-EPI, we collaborate with technology innovators and developers to transform their agri-tech ideas into reality through our comprehensive innovation services. Our offerings include a diverse network of commercial farms, R&D support, and business assistance to facilitate the development, testing, and commercialization of cutting-edge agricultural solutions. By providing the necessary resources and expertise, we empower innovators to drive the future of agriculture.

The School of Sustainable Food and Farming at Harper Adams University is supported by their steering partners: Morrisons, McDonalds UK & Ireland, and National Farmers Union. Their shared purpose is to:

• Equip farmers with skills and knowledge towards Net Zero within sustainability parameters (economic, environmental, and social).

• Talk a common language with regards to Net Zero and sustainable farming.

• Improving farm data to track carbon emission reductions and sequestration offsetting at a whole farm system approach.

• Encourage new entrants into the food industry and a diversity of entrepreneurial people

This event is open to member and non-members and includes lunch!

Members free of charge. Non-members first attendance free, there after £12 per person.

Easter Bush Facilities Tour – seeding innovation and collaboration

Agri-EPI and the Roslin Institute invite you to an Easter Bush Facilities Tour on Tuesday the 17th October 2023.

This facilities tour will provide an opportunity to visit specialist campus facilities and network with experts to explore opportunities for collaborative innovation. Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit the Roslin Innovation Centre, which offers physical and virtual co-location for high growth innovative companies with a focus on Agritech, Animal Health and Aquaculture, enabling them to establish and grow.

Tours will include:

Aquaculture Genetics Research Facility – a freshwater aquarium facility designed for early-life stages of farmed fish species.

Agri-EPI’s Northern Agri-Tech Innovation Hub – a facility aimed at fostering new ideas and technologies from academia, start-ups, established companies and farmers. Agri-EPI’s dedicated team works to develop profitable, productive, and sustainable solutions for the agriculture industry, bridging the gap between early-stage commercialisation to implementation. They offer office, lab, and workshop spaces for start-ups and SMEs, providing them with necessary resources and helping them connect with like-minded individuals

Roslin Innovation Centre – a business gateway to innovation providing office, laboratory or virtual space for companies. The University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies incorporates the Roslin Institute, the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems, the Roslin Innovation Centre and other entities. World-class infrastructure at our Easter Bush Campus offers a gateway to expertise to collaborate and drive sustainable agriculture, control diseases and enhance health.

Bio-imaging & Flow Cytometry Facility – featuring a range of high-end microscopy, cell sorting and flow cytometry equipment and expertise, based in the Roslin Institute.

Proteomics and Metabolomics Facility – featuring ultra-sensitive mass spectroscopy instrumentation and expertise to characterise the proteome and metabolome in living systems, based in the Roslin Institute.

There will be complementary networking lunch and arrival drinks.

MATCH on Tour and Agri-EPI agri-tech Showcase event

Agri-EPI invites you to attend our networking event and the agri-tech showcase of some of our technology at our Crop Technology Southern Innovation Hub, Cranfield University on the 24th of October. 

Agri-EPI’s Crop Technology Southern Hub is based at the Agri-Informatics Building at Cranfield University.

Delivering academic rigour, data analytics and agri-tech expertise, our Crop Technology Southern Innovation Hub is home to world-class collaborative research within state-of-the-art facilities.

This event is sponsored by Jonathan Lee Recruitment who will give a 10 minute presentation.

Use this opportunity to chat and get to know each other, fostering new connections and opportunities for collaboration within Agri-Tech.

Explore the asset capability Agri-EPI Centre has that may be useful for your future research and project work.

The following items will be on display:

  • Robotriks RTU v4 autonomous platform.
  • Trinity F90 VTOL drone equipped with Multispectral sensors.
  • DJI T10 Spray Drone.
  • Freefly XQ-1400S drone equipped with Hyperspectral and LIDAR sensors.
  • DJI M300 equipped with GPR sensor.
  • A range of field-based spectrometry equipment.

The event will include welcome drinks and refreshments and brunch.

A tour of the site and demonstrations can be arranged on request

Members free of charge.

Non-members first attendance free, there after £12 per person.