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    Harper Adams: A Year in Review – part one

    Posted 20 December 2021

    Harper Adams Chancellor Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal at the opening of the Veterinary Education Centre

    With regular award wins, a series of league table successes, ground-breaking research, and all kinds of student stories, 2021 has proved to be another eventful year at Harper Adams University.

    Join us as we look back at some of the highlights…


    January saw awards wins for two Harper Adams students from The Royal Association of Dairy Farmers (RABDF.)

    Katie Ackland secured Dairy Student of the Year 2021 and Catriona Marshall was named the 2021 winner of Farm Health Management Award.

    The win for Katie, from Devon, meant that Harper Adams students had secured the Dairy Student of the Year award for six of the last seven years – while County Londonderry-based Catriona’s winning entry was praised as “a very deserving winner” by RABDF experts.

    Meanwhile. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Lee was invited to speak on international television about the importance of an omnivorous diet -you can read his views in a wider opinion piece here.


    February saw a range of research – from both staff and students – picking up attention.

    A study on improving the environmental impact of milk production suggested that reducing protein in cattle diets could help reduce ammonia emissions by 16 per cent by 2030.

    Academics from Harper Adams highlighted how the commercialisation of crop robots in Europe was being held back by regulation – and set to work helping to provide a code of practice for the sector.

    Undergraduate research saw Hannah Beard, 22, a final year BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing with Small Animal Rehabilitation student, use her Honours Research Project to examine how separation anxiety in dogs has been affected by Covid-19 lockdowns.

    Another award was added to the University’s growing list of successes in February, with Grace Wellings crowned Farmers Weekly Agricultural Student of the Year.


    In March, the Harper & Keele Veterinary School received an invaluable trove of journals, textbooks and reports about animal health, from a collection built up over 80 years.

    The Animal Health Trust Library, thanks to the generosity of its former Deputy President, The Lord Kirkham KCVO, was relocated to the Harper Adams University campus, where it will be known as The Lord Kirkham Collection from The Animal Health Trust.

    Two leading businesswomen at the front of the Agri-food sector - Judith Batchelar OBE, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability and Public Affairs at Sainsbury’s, and leading independent Livestock Sustainability consultant, Dr Jude Capper, received an Honorary DSc from the University for their significant contributions to their respective fields.

    And the University was named a leading institution for both research partnerships and work with business in new figures from Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework.


    Harper Adams Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Lee was named as the new President of the British Society of Animal Science during April at the society’s annual conference.

    Meanwhile, fresh awards success in April saw PHD Student Emma Redfern Highly Commended as Young Farmer of the Year in the Cream Awards.

    Her award was followed later in the month with three student prizes at the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) Awards - where Senior Lecturer Kit Franklin was also named this year’s President’s Award winner.

    And the diverse range of student experiences saw Ballycastle Food Technology student Daniel McCaw draw hundreds of followers on social media with a lockdown food blog – while Animal Behaviour student Olivia James put her studies to use on a ground-breaking project using dogs to detect coronavirus.


    In May, an online Harper Adams Scholarship Presentation event saw the University’s Development Trust award 168 scholarships, totalling £504,300 and supporting 136 individual students.

    With Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn having earlier announced his intention to retire after 23 years with the institution, his successor was named as Professor Ken Sloan.

    Professor Sloan said: "To have the opportunity to lead a university that has a mission to provide sustainable means to feed the growing global population will be a privilege.  I look forward to building on the outstanding achievements of Dr David Llewellyn, working with the Harper Adams students, staff, governors, alumni and communities in this next, exciting stage of its development."

    And in a guest lecture, Harper Adams alumna Rosie Cowie spoke with current students about her career after graduation, including her role at Sainsbury’s developing their produce range.


    The first of a series of league table successes saw Harper Adams rise eight places in this year’s Complete University Guide, published in in June.

    The Guide also rated Harper Adams first in the country for its level of spending on student facilities such as careers, health and counselling and sport services, and second in the UK for its graduate prospects ‘on track’ – which measures how well recent graduates feel their current activity fits with their future career plans.

    University collaboration with researchers in Jordan paid fruit, with a vertical farming project proving a success and helping communities grow tomatoes, celery and onions by using building rooves in urban settings.

    And at the end of the month, University Vice Chancellor Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opened the Veterinary Education Centre – the latest addition to the Harper Adams campus – in a special ceremony.

    See our roundup of July to December highlights here.

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