Posted 1 February 2015
A Harper Adams postgraduate student has been presented with a prestigious research prize in recognition of her work to devise an on-farm test for poultry bacteria.
Fittonia Elgina was awarded The Worshipful Company of Poulters ‘Poulters Research Prize’ at the Armourers’ Hall in London, recently.
Fittonia, from Indonesia, is researching the development and evaluation of an on-farm cost-effective biosensor method for Campylobacter detection in poultry for her PhD project.
The 28-year-old said: “I was very delighted and felt honoured to have received this prize.
“Having the research prize awarded by the Worshipful Company of Poulters means acknowledgement of the importance of my research for the poultry industry and it is a great endorsement for me to continue and finish this project. I am so grateful.”
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, with around four in five cases originating from contaminated poultry.
Fittonia’s work is part of research being conducted at the Department of Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management at Harper Adams.
She is the recipient of the Faccenda Postgraduate Research Scholarship and is supervised by a team of experts, including senior lecturers Dr Lynn McIntyre and Dr Jayne Powles; and Dr Steve Moore of Faccenda Foods Ltd.
Dr McIntyre said: “We are very proud of Fittonia’s achievements and pleased to see her hard work and dedication to her PhD research project being recognised and rewarded.
“Many thanks to the Worship Company of Poulters for providing this research prize – this type of support is invaluable in promoting the importance of applied research and hopefully encourages students to consider future careers in research relevant to the poultry industry.”
On her experience of studying at Harper Adams as an international student, Fittonia said: "Harper Adams is small, which is a big benefit for international students. When the university is big, they don't tend to have such a close relationship with their students; there isn’t as much support. There’s a real sense that I’m making an impact at Harper Adams and have the attention of my supervisors.
“There’s a strong agricultural experience at Harper Adams. Indonesia is very strong in terms of agriculture too and so it makes for a very natural place for anybody who wants to work in the sector, academically or otherwise.
“Indonesia is a developing country and we want to move towards better technology for our agriculture. For many years, people have gone to other universities in the UK but they hadn't realises Harper Adams is strong in its field. As it’s specialised, it’s easy to have a multi-disciplinary experience.
“It’s a modern university campus, in terms of its facilities, including a new lab extension due to be completed in early 2017. Here there’s a culture of research with cutting-edge technology.
“We are surrounded by farms too, so trials are very easy.
"The first time I came here, I was very excited; I had never been to England before. I felt very welcome when I arrived and everyone was very friendly. The international student community is very helpful and there are a lot of social activities, including trips to other parts of the country.”