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PhD student awarded Newton-Bhabha placement travels to India

Posted 16 August

“I hope that by going to the Indian Institute of Technology, we’ll be able to work on more research together and they’re expertise will be a great help for my project."

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A PhD student at Harper Adams University will be travelling India to work with specialists after being awarded a Newton-Bhabha placement.

For his PhD project, Olutobi Adeyemi is hoping to cut back on the amount of water used in potato farming by developing automated sensor systems. Through the placement, he’ll have the opportunity to work with specialists in the area of advanced process control at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.

The 31 year-old from Nigeria said: “My background is in computer engineering. I had no experience in agriculture before this project. When I saw the PhD vacancy being advertised I thought it sounded interesting, especially as it’ll hopefully make a different to agriculture, and so applied for it.”

Olutobi’s initial results after calibrating three different types of soil moisture sensors have shown that the soil moisture sensors can be improved.

He added: “I’m trying to apply some concepts which have worked successfully in process control and am now applying them specifically to agriculture.

“Biological systems and agricultural systems need to consider time variance. I’m trying to ensure the right amount of water is applied at the right time to achieve the maximum crop yield, whilst ensuring that water is saved where possible.

“By the end of my project, it is hoped that the system will be ready to be implemented. There will always be room for improvement however. During the placement and during my final year I’ll be looking at improving the functionality of algorithms, improving the calibration and trying to ensure everything is integrated together.

“I hope that by going to the Indian Institute of Technology, we’ll be able to work on more research together and they’re expertise will be a great help for my project.

“I see this project as the start of a career in research in agriculture and biological systems, which is something I never thought I’d be pursuing before this project.

“I’d liked to acknowledge and thank the funder of the project; the John Oldacre Trust.”

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