Agricultural research remains an area of concern as corporates receive a disproportionate attention for research. However, as awareness about farmer’s issues, and their plight as food-growers in the economy rises, more universities are tying up to put them at the heart of innovation.
University of Warwick, along with several other leading UK universities have joined forces to make a difference on the ground. Due to a £1.5m funding from Elizabeth Creak charitable trust, Warwick will focus on scientific innovation, and real-life farming experience. According to the university’s press release, the centre will focus on development investment which can best support innovation for farmers.
The centre will be virtual in nature, and experts from various universities including University of Warwick, Harper Adams University, Royal Agricultural University, and Newcastle University will contribute to its research.
The press release also stated that the centre will grow base of researchers, and funders who will become passionate about the practical impact of agricultural research, and the uptake of innovation by farmers.
Moreover, the centre will also advise, and support agricultural research through innovation funders, including government entities. The centre will try to cater to growing demand for research by aligning government funded programs accessible to farmers, and well-placed to drive results.
Building Futuristic Supply Chains
According to Dr. David Rose, the associate professor at the centre, “Farming needs to change fast to meet the challenges of our time, including conservation of biodiversity, responding to climate change, and food-related illnesses”. According to David, this will make way for secure and resilient food supply chains.
Dr. David notes that the UK funding for agricultural research amounts to a notable £300 per annum. However, this funding, and its conversion into research-driven innovation remains patchy. He believes the centre will step in as a dedicated initiative to channel research funding to the most relevant issues on the ground.
Tackling Climate Change at Grassroots
According to Professor, Tom MacMillan, the chair in Rural Policy, and Strategy, the founding of this centre has come at the right time for many reasons. She believes the rural economy, or agricultural will likely undergo major changes in the near future, considering number of issues including rising need for pest control, growing demand for a sustainable economic solutions, among others.
MacMillan also noted, that government agencies like Defra are supporting growing demand from farmers to control mob grazing. Issues like these have received limited attention in the past. However, with growing initiative like these, perhaps a better future is on the horizon for UK farmers in near future.