August 02, 2016

02/08/2016: Industry tour to inspire next generation of crop scientists

AHDB-funded PhD students will grow their understanding of the practical applications of science in horticulture at a series of visits this week (3–4 August).
The group – who are all undertaking doctorates in arable or horticultural disciplines – will be given a whistle-stop tour of the industry, taking in five growers in the Chichester area over the course of two days.
AHDB has organised the event as part of its work to encourage the next generation of scientists into agricultural and horticultural research and retain them within the field.
AHDB’s Joe Martin, who is responsible for the programme, said: “The ability of our industry to problem-solve and innovate hinges on attracting the best and brightest minds into the field of crop sciences.
Image: TT Arvind
“By connecting these students with horticultural enterprises, where they can see for themselves the practical impact of new technologies, we hope to inspire these talented academics to spearhead the next wave of scientific advancement.”
Across sectors, AHDB funds around 15 new PhDs a year, with 50 to 60 projects ongoing at any one time. A call for applications for a share of UK£1 million worth of funding for studentships starting in 2017 is currently live, with a closing date of 19 September.
David Kay, Managing Director of Hall Hunter Partnership, which is hosting the first visit, said: “Those of us who have had full careers in both the agricultural and horticultural arenas understand how varied and exciting the sectors can be.
“The practical application of highly applied science in order to produce food for future generations offers the current student cohort many opportunities to found and develop excellent careers in the years ahead.”
The tour of Hall Hunter Partnership, a family-run business growing soft fruit for major supermarkets, is followed by a visit to the state-of-the-art glasshouses at Tangmere Airfield Nursery, which specialises in sweet peppers.
Tangmere's Mark Knight said: “Like many farmers and growers across the UK, Tangmere is very keen to nurture talent in the industry.
“We look forward to welcoming the students with the aim of stimulating their minds in a practical way, thinking about how we will solve new challenges and support the future of British farming.”
Image: Thomas Kohler
The next day, the students will take in Barfoots of Botley, which grows 90 percent of the fresh sweetcorn eaten in the UK and Hill Brothers, growers of two million ornamental flowering plants for retail each year.
Rounding off the event will be a visit to Fleurie Nursery, part of the Farplants Group, the UK’s largest wholesale supplier of outdoor plants to garden centres.
You can follow the AHDB Horticulture twitter feed for tweets and pictures HERE.
Visit the AHDB site HERE.

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