The Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) is looking to award £10,000 in prize money to a recent invention, technology or scientific advance that has really boosted on-farm performance or profitability. Nominations are being sought from farmers and the wider industry for the most deserving projects and people to fit these criteria. The winning nominator will win a fully-paid place at the 2017 Oxford Farming Conference, which runs from 3-5 January 2017.
The Science and Innovation Award is partnered by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) sponsored by Adama.
“The Award has been running for six years,” explains John Gilliland, an OFC Director. “Its aim is to recognise a technology, system, scientific advance or application that has most aided practical farming – anything from a SmartPhone App, to a piece of machinery or a building design.”
“Our aim is to discover and recognise the often hidden work invented or developed for farmers, thereby addressing an important "recognition gap" of the people or teams behind these projects,” he says.
Previous winners include a potato modelling system developed by NIAB CUF, The Cool Farm Tool (CFT) developed by Dr Jon Hillier and his team at Aberdeen University, the Keenan Mech Fiber system and the welfare focused 360o Sow Farrowing Pen, invented by Martin Barker.
“Your nomination could allow a developer or inventor to progress or enhance their idea further,” Mr Gilliland adds.
Nominations should fit one of more of the following criteria:
• Provide demonstrable and practical benefits to on-farm practice, performance and profitability;
• Provide clear economic benefit to the industry, food chain and/or consumers;
• Improve sustainability through the more efficient use of resources.
The Award is funded by the OFC and the RASE with additional sponsored support from Adama. It aims to encourage and distinguish new thinking and innovation and is open to academics, researchers and commercial company employees.
The £10,000 prize is split with £3,000 - funded by Adama - being presented to the lead individual and £7,000, funded by the RASE and the OFC, to the institution or business the researcher works for. The latter monies will be used to support further research work into the subject, through the support of a studentship, traineeship or the purchase of a piece of research equipment.
RASE Chief Executive David Gardner adds: “As a charity committed to Innovation for Agriculture the Society recognizes that the sustainable intensification farming needs will only be delivered by implementing new science and technology, the type of farm-focused R&D that is entered into this award is exactly what's needed to enable the farm progress we need."
Commenting on their support for the Award, Alison Bosher, Technical and Marketing Director for Adama Agricultural Solutions UK says, “We are delighted to be associated with the 2017 Oxford Farming Conference and proud to be the sponsor of the Science and Innovation Award."
“The need for UK farmers, their suppliers and associated sector supply chains to cope with and mitigate the effects of volatile markets, unpredictable weather and variable disease and pest threats, highlights the continuing need for the development and refinement of new and existing technologies."
“Novel, practical and farmer-focused solutions, which address not just the more technically and scientifically challenging conundrums, but which also tackle the more ordinary, day-to-day challenges faced on farms, form a vital part of the industry’s progression. We are therefore pleased to be able to give recognition to this year’s nominees and we look forward to learning more about their ideas and innovations.”
Application forms are available for download from the OFC website, the closing date is 30 September 2016. The winner will be presented with the award at the 2017 Oxford Farming Conference which takes place on the 3-5 January.