Posted 11 May
Strong links between Harper Adams University and the Institution of Agricultural Engineers have once again been demonstrated at the annual IAgrE Awards.
The awards – which are accompanied by the Institution’s AGM – saw MEng Agricultural Engineering graduate James Shaw named winner of the IAgrE CNH Industrial Undergraduate Award 2021 for his Honours Research Project thesis.
James – who received both Alamo and Douglas Bomford Trust Scholarships during his time at Harper - impressed judges with the potential applications for sustainable farming which arose from his thesis, An investigation into the geometric properties of Anaerobic Digestion plant digestate pellets to be used within commercial agricultural distribution methods as a biodegradable natural fertiliser.
He said: “It felt really good to win the award – and to see recognition for the hard work that you’ve put in!
“My thesis looked at ways of making digestate, a by-product, into pellets to be used as a fertiliser – on its own or alongside synthetic fertilisers.”
CEO of IAgrE, Charlie Nicklin, said: “The IAgrE was delighted to award James with the CNH Industrial undergraduate award for his project, along with the £250 prize. This is one of many awards won by students of Harper Adams University over the years.
“James’ work on digestate pellets is in an important area of agricultural engineering as we work toward more sustainable farming practices and increased renewable energy use.”
James, who is originally from near Cirencester in Wiltshire, added: “Studying at Harper Adams was great, as you also had the campus farm and all the facilities – so you could go from the lecture theatre straight out to look at the practical application of things.
“There was also a community, not only with your fellow students but also with your lecturers. You knew that your lecturers came equipped with industry knowledge – and they worked to equip you with it!”
During the event the former Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams, Dr David Llewellyn, was given the IAgrE Award for Contribution to the Land-based Sector.
The award is made to IAgrE members who have made sustained contributions to the sector throughout their career.
Judges cited IAgrE Fellow Dr Llewellyn - who received a CBE in the New Year’s Honours – ‘for his immense contributions to activities in the land-based sector via his leadership at Harper Adams University and his broader involvement in higher education.’
The accompanying AGM also demonstrated the strength of links between Harper Adams and the Institution, as Alumnus Steve Constable, managing director of Spaldings Limited, was named the new President of IAgrE – taking over the role from Visiting Lecturer in Engineering Paul Hemingway.
Mr Constable studied a degree in agricultural engineering at Harper Adams University and has an MBA in Business Management and Marketing. His Presidency will last for two years.
He said: “I am privileged to be appointed President of the IAgrE at a time when the need for qualified engineers, researchers and academics has never been more important.
“Recent events such as Covid, Brexit and the conflict in the Ukraine have highlighted to all stakeholders the importance of producing food efficiently, effectively and with the least harm to the environment. I am committed to working hard in helping develop this Institution to remain at the forefront of this exciting industry.”