My PhD research focussed on the impact of agricultural management practices on soil biological (i.e. bioindicators of soil health) and physicochemical properties. My project was affiliated to the AgroCycle EU consortium, a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project addressing the circular economy of the agri-food sector. AgroCycle EU was a collaboration between 26 partners from the EU, China and Hong Kong, and encompassed various stakeholders from practitioners, academia to industry.
I have been involved with EcoInsect Ltd in collaboration with Harper Adams University and University of Reading. We looked into the scaling up potential of using Black Soldier Flies (BSF) as animal feed and into the valorisation of by-products that originate from insect rearing. My role related to the latter, where I was responsible for the running of glasshouse trials aimed to better understand the response of crops and associated soil properties to BSF by-products.
As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham working in collaboration with Syngenta and Rothamsted, I worked on a project looking at the effects of soil pore structure of different textural classes and varied disturbances has on the movement and retention of particles. My duties involved imaging analysis using X-ray Computed Tomography, and the quantification of fluid transport through soil structure by applying techniques such as hydraulic conductivity and breakthrough curves.
I have been involved with benchmarking soil organic carbon (SOC) across the Harper Adams University Estate, which has linked nicely with the Paludiculture Innovation Project (PIP) that I am part of. PIP aims to create a long-term experimental facility by converting from dryland farming to paludiculture (e.g. wet farming on peat soils). The team, with different levels of expertise, will be undertaking detailed monitoring and data capture of changes in soil properties, soil biodiversity, greenhouse gas fluxes, nutrient flows, water flow and quality, along with the economics and social implications.