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Pioneering mosquito management work set out in tropical island TEDx talk

Posted 23 May

A mosquito on human skin at sunset

A Harper Adams graduate now applying his knowledge and skills at a series of luxury Maldives resorts has discussed pioneering work to manage mosquitoes on tropical islands.

Akib Jahir, who completed his Masters in Integrated Pest Management at the University, is now employed as Area Integrated Pest Control Manager for the resorts, and is working with a top biologist, developing new approaches to tackling the impact mosquitoes can have.

He said: “I have got the amazing opportunity to utilize my skill sets in the field on a pioneering project with mosquitoes, all set in the tropical paradise of the Indian Ocean.

“I work hand-in-hand with one of the world's greatest mosquito biologists, Dr Bart Knols, and we are working on sustainable and efficient mosquito management methods geared towards tropical islands. 

“Most recently, I was invited to speak at TEDx Baa Atoll – and my talk, Zero Mosquitoes, Zero Fogging covers some of our pioneering mosquito methods and the success we've been able to achieve so far.”

Akib, from West Bengal, India, completed his course at Harper Adams in 2018, shortly before taking up his current role. The qualification was his second Masters degree – but it was his studies in Shropshire that made the strongest impression upon him.

He added: “Harper Adams University left a long-lasting mark in my mind and career path.

“Studying within this educational system at one of the best agricultural universities in the world felt like such a massive privilege and huge step forward for me. I was so fortunate to have academics like Tom Pope, Matthew Back, John Reade, and others who really moulded my education whilst in England. 

 “I also fell in love with the UK countryside and really enjoyed studying with students from all around the world and joining activities at the school.

“At graduation, I was chosen as the British Crop Production Council's Best Student, which was a huge honour.

“Not only did I get an amazing Masters degree, but I gained lifetime friends, mentors, and colleagues.”

When looking for universities, Akib knew he wanted to focus his entomological skills – and to apply them practically. 

When he discovered his course at Harper Adams, his interest was already piqued – and knowing he could combine his love of insect science with another life-long interest helped to seal the deal.

He said: “After researching different profiles of universities around the world, I became attracted to Harper Adams because of the structure, length and hands-on learning opportunities to apply knowledge.

“The faculties are amazing, highly qualified, and working on contemporary research works that are truly the need of the hour for our field. I gained so many contact points through my studies here, and it has truly set me on a career path that I'm passionate about. The value of the degree goes so far beyond the diploma itself, it is a gateway to the career you're looking for. 

“It also didn't hurt that my favourite football team, Manchester United, was just about 45 minutes away! I have been an avid supporter since 1999 at the age of six, so it was a dream for me to live there, study hard, and experience that culture up close.”

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