“We are keen to engage with the agri-tech community and are active members of Agri-Tech East,” comments Helen Francis, Research Manager and Knowledge Transfer Facilitator of the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering.
“Numerous research groups across the Department do work of relevance to this sector. From big data to vehicle design, robotics to asset management and sensors to supply chains, there is a wealth of knowledge within the Department that could have an impact farming and food production.
“There is also government funding for agri-tech projects ranging from early stage research grants to funding for field trials to demonstrate commercial potential, and as the gatekeeper for the Department of Engineering, I can be contacted by companies or organisations who would like to work with the Department on interesting problems in this space.”
Helen says that the importance of basing a business idea on a solid foundation of practicality is also emphasised, with the Department working alongside Cambridge Enterprise to support University start-ups. She says:
“The Department of Engineering has a very strong track record of spin-out companies, many of which were incubated within the Department, providing flexibility for the researchers to develop their invention alongside their academic career.”
Francis is encouraging researchers in the Engineering department to get involved in GROW.