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Jonathan's Nuffield travels

Posted 20 March 2018

"An important aspect the Nuffield Trust believes in is taking time away from your usual environment to look at areas that you’re interested in. Having the space and time to explore and think about alternative ideas and ways of working."

Harper Adams University Mechatronics Researcher Jonathan Gill has embarked on a global adventure with the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust.

At the end of last year, Jonathan was awarded his Nuffield Farming scholarship by the trust to research ‘how can automation in agriculture can be embraced’.

Jonathan has started with the Global Focus Programme (GFP) and will be travelling with seven fellow scholars from Australia, Tasmania, Ireland and New Zealand. Together they’re known as the Chile (Chile Champs) GFP group.

Following the Nuffield 2018 Contemporary Scholars Conference in the Netherlands, the group will be visiting Italy, the USA, Canada, Chile and Argentina.

Jonathan said: “During this GFP trip, I won’t be looking at my personal question, but instead bringing a new perspective to the group through my technical background. I’ll also be introduced to aspects of agriculture, by some of the most passionate and enthusiastic new scholars from 2018; learning things about food and farming that I’ve not had the opportunity to see yet.

“I’ll be visiting a host of cities; Turin, Chicago, Washington DC, Dallas, Vancouver, Miami, Buenos Aires and Santiago. It’s an amazing opportunity that I’m very much looking forward to and know that I’ll learn a lot. I’ll also be acting as an ambassador for Harper Adams; sharing our ethos and promoting collaboration, which will hopefully lead to some interesting projects.

“An important aspect the Nuffield Trust believes in is taking time away from your usual environment to look at areas that you’re interested in. Having the space and time to explore and think about alternative ideas and ways of working.”

After returning to the UK at the end of April, Jonathan’s attention will return to organising his visits to technology companies and institutions around the world to help him answer his question: ‘How do we embrace automation in agriculture?’

“There’s certain companies that I want to go and see,” he adds. “These include Tesla, Boston Dynamics and NASA. There’s some interesting drone work going on in New Zealand and exciting projects are taking place at some of Australia’s universities.

“I’d also like to visit Izeki in Japan, who made the tractor which we used for the Hands Free Hectare. I want to see what they’re working on at the next level for the future.”

You can follow Jonathan on his travels on Twitter or Instagram (@AgRobotJon).

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