Posted 18 December 2022
With three different graduation celebrations, multiple award wins, eye-catching research and much, much more, 2022 was a packed year at Harper Adams University.
Join us as we look back at some of the highlights…
The year started with the news that former Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, had been awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours roll.
Dr Llewellyn said: “I should like to thank the staff and students at Harper Adams University, and colleagues from industry and elsewhere, who have done so much to help turn our ideas into reality and to enable the University to develop a strong reputation for its educational and research activities.”
Our students and alumni marked a series of successes during the month – among them, Molly Robson was named as the first female CLAAS Scholar and Cari Thomas secured the prestigious Holstein UK President’s Medal Award.
It was announced that Harper Adams had joined up with more than a dozen other universities to form the Agricultural Universities Council (AUC).
Professor Michael Lee, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Harper Adams University, said: “Through collaborative action with each other, industry, and our farmers, we can ensure that world-leading research is deployed in the most effective manner.”
At the end of January, the first of a series of projects to mark the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee got underway, with our students and staff helping to plant an avenue of fruit and nut trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme – with further trees planted in communities across the region during the following months of the year.
The first tenant moved into Newport’s Ni.PARK innovation site – with the company working closely with Harper students.
HCI Systems is working with our students on projects linked to drones and robotic machines.
Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan welcomed the news, and said: “Bringing together academic expertise and industry experience, through our work with Ni.PARK and close collaboration with Telford & Wrekin Council, helps forge links which not only benefit our students but also boosts our regional economy.”
Further research saw Harper Adams academics at the Fresh Produce Research Centre were awarded funding to continue work examining the causes of quality loss in salad crops.
Student successes in awards this month included two alumni securing prizes – with Emily Mosely securing the AgriScot Business Skills prize and Oliver Mackay named Tilhill Student of the Year for 2021.
Finally, the School of Sustainable Food and Farming unveiled a new logo – based on a design brief by Food student Megan Bowles.
Research showing the £1.4 billion impact of Britain’s farm shops – led by a Harper Adams team – was unveiled at the Farm Retail Association conference.
Harper Adams Senior Lecturer in Food Retail and Marketing, Alastair Boot, said: "We believe this is the first substantial survey of its kind into farm retail. It establishes the growth of the sector and its enormous value to local economies.”
Back at Harper Adams, a collaboration bringing together the expertise of the UK space and agricultural sectors was preparing for launch.
The ‘Agri Living Lab’ aims to transform the use of terrestrial and space data and communication systems across the agriculture and food and drink sector.
And we revealed how a childhood dream of working with carnivores came true for one Applied Zoology student – whose placement saw her working at the West Midland Safari Park.
Tributes were paid after the death of much-revered former Principal, Dr Tony Harris.
Global feedback from businesses saw Harper Adams University ranked as the world’s number one university for agriculture and forestry employer reputation.
After four years as second in the world Harper Adams further improved on its standing in the QS World University Subject Rankings tables for employer reputation, standing out at a leading institution for its specialist subject base.
April’s student award winners at the Dairy-Tech showcase event included Max Mitchell, who was named as Dairy Student of the Year 2022, and Marley Lamerton, who secured the Farm Health Management Award.
Meanwhile Harper students also secured two of the top three places in The Royal Entomological Society’s 2021 RES Student Awards. Students Ashley Dear and Amy Farrow each took home prizes for their essays on insects and their behaviour.
Towards the end of the month, an ambitious research project investigating technology which produces food products from grass got underway after receiving £2m in funding.
The Pasture to Plate project has already attracted interest from a wide range of organisations and businesses.
By 2025, it will seek to develop and refine processes which could have a transformative effect on United Kingdom and global food production.
New figures were released showing that 60 per cent of the research conducted at Harper Adams University is either world leading or internationally excellent.
The figures formed part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 21 results, which are used as a means to allocate around £2 billion of research funding per year.
Award wins this month included Harper Adams being named the best university in the country for career prospects for the sixth time.
At the Whatuni Student Choice Awards, or WUSCAs, the University maintained a run of success which saw it take the award’s predecessor Job Prospects top title in 2016, 2017, 18, 19 and 20 – with the award not being made nationally last year due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Dr David Llewellyn was given the Institution of Agricultural Engineers award for Contribution to the Land-based Sector, with alumnus James Shaw named winner of the IAgrE CNH Industrial Undergraduate Award at the same ceremony. Students Ben Chilman and coursemate Will Pugh took the Gold and Silver Pinnacle awards at the Farmers Club – with Ben set to enjoy further success later in the year.
With events returning after the pandemic, orur first in-person Scholarship Presentation since 2020 saw £500,000 awarded to students – with Harper Adams Head of Development Doris Taylor saying: “Every year, these scholarships offer our students not just financial support, but also opportunity – and it is great to see after each event how these awards help to shape their recipient’s future.”
Finally, viewers of TV’s Countryfile got to share in a group of London students’ experiences undertaking a three-day study event at Harper Adams.
This group have a great future ahead! I spent a couple of days filming with students at @HarperAdamsUni and learnt more about the career options that are available in Agriculture.— Adam Henson (@AdamHenson) April 27, 2022
#HarperAdams #Agriculture #Careers #FarmingUK #AgriUK pic.twitter.com/5uTJymyF0g
Dr Paul Wood, Principal of Westminster Academy, said: “This was a genuinely eye-opening opportunity for our students, who returned with new perspectives on the countryside and on careers in an industry they likely would never have considered otherwise.”
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations were marked by a series of beacons being lit across the country.
Student Sam Scales designed a bespoke beacon, which was lit at an event at Chetwynd Deer Park at the start of the Jubilee Weekend.
It was announced that Harper Adams had climbed the ranks once again in the UK’s Complete University Guide 2023 - keeping its position as the UK’s best modern university.
With the conflict in Ukraine raging throughout the year, Harper Adams announced it had twinned with the Odessa National University of Technology.
The partnership is part of a wider initiative driven by Universities UK and the Cormack Consultancy Group alongside Ukrainian institutions, with almost 80 twinning schemes announced in June 2022.
And a book by the late Professor Emeritus Simon Leather, welcoming its readers to the world of entomology, was published posthumously.
Insects – A Very Short Introduction was fittingly published during the Royal Entomological Society’s Insect Week.
The National Student Survey results were announced – with Harper Adams remaining in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction.
Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Sloan, said: “We are all committed to building upon this result and ensuring we are delivering excellent, relevant, effective learning and social experiences to all students at all levels.”
"While the survey gives us many reasons to celebrate, its real value comes in providing the honest views and ratings from our graduating classes.”
While many current students made their way home for the summer, the campus remained a hive of activity.
And preparations for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games saw the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay welcomed to campus on one of the hottest days of the year.
Batonbearers from across local communities took part in the event – with the Queen’s Baton even travelling part of the relay in a Harper Adams tractor.
with the final one, @jodieblackadder (pictured with @ProfKenSloan) completing her leg by tractor. Huge thanks to all colleagues who supported the event and well done to all who ventured out in this heat! pic.twitter.com/5U5p6O566k— Harper Adams University (@HarperAdamsUni) July 19, 2022
The culmination of a project which has seen the region’s largest peatland restored was marked with a conference at the University.
The conference heard about the successes of the Marches and Mosses BogLife project – and examined ways in which other peatlands like it could be sustainably managed.
Two very different reports were also launched during the month – with a policy report drawn together by Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan setting out lessons for communities across the globe.
Meanwhile, the second of a series of reports which saw Harper Adams University academics collaborate with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board to analyse international trade deals was launched.
The report used sophisticated economic modelling devised at the University to analyse how a New Zealand/ UK trade deal could affect farmers and producers.
The University joined with communities across the country in marking the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – with flags flown at half-mast and a Book of Condolence provided for students and staff.
Later in the month, the Hands Free Farm team held an event marking six years of success for the project and its predecessor, the Hands Free Hectare – and revealed some future plans for the technology developed during their research.
The HFF team’s work also featured in a GuildHE report, examining the impact of work being carried out at specialist institutions such as Harper Adams.
September was rounded out with the third Graduation celebration of the year – marking the graduation of those students who had completed their courses in 2022 – was held.
New graduate Ben Chilman – who had earlier secured the Gold Pinnacle award – was named as the Farmers Weekly Agriculture Student of the Year.
Fellow graduate Sam Allison was also shortlisted for the prize.
Dr Russell Readman, Course Manager for Agriculture at Harper Adams University, said: “It was excellent to see Harper Adams Agriculture students selected as two of the three finalists for the Farmers Weekly Agriculture Student of the Year Awards.
“Both Ben and Sam were strong contenders and it was great to see Ben Chilman winning the award this year. This continues Harper Adams University’s strong track record track in this award and highlights the quality of Harper Adams Agriculture students.”
Meanwhile, at the Farming Life Awards 2022, final year student Timothy Davidson was named Agri Student /Apprentice of the Year.
He said: “I was more than happy just to be a finalist for the award, knowing how many brilliant agriculture students there are from Northern Ireland.
“Winning the award is an honour and I am proud to bring it back to Harper Adams.”
Other award winners this month included Alex Gregory, who was Tilhill Top Student winner for 2022; Lucy Griffiths, who secured a National Sheep Association Samuel Wharry Memorial Award; and the winner of the New Holland Agriculture Trophy George Smith.
The University launched its Global Policy Forum with an event in London attended by University Chancellor Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.
At the event, at Rabobank’s London headquarters, a panel of experts examined the challenges of Net Zero in food and farming in a debate chaired by TV presenter Julia Bradbury.
In Shropshire, Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch was welcomed to Harper Adams – with her visit being hailed by Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan as underlining the importance of British farming.
Back in London, a report examining ways to boost productivity in UK agriculture – developed by a working group chaired by Lord Curry of Kirkharle – was launched before an audience of key opinion-formers and policy-makers in in Parliament.
And in Cardiff, current BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management student Eleanor Gilbert was named Countryfile Young Countryside Champion 2022 for her work championing UK food and farming.
Harper Adams was among 16 institutions officially recognised as world-leading specialists in the latest funding announcement from the Office for Students (OfS).
Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan said: “This announcement from the Office for Students confirms the quality, reputation and impact that a Harper Adams education has on our students, on the industries which recruit our graduates, and on society at large.”
Kaleb Cooper – who became an overnight star after his appearances on Clarkson’s Farm – was welcomed to campus for a Student Union event.
And finally, a project helping to rehabilitate a dairy calf through hydrotherapy offered an unusual patient for a group of final year Veterinary Physiotherapy students – and made Bunny the calf an unexpected television star.
(Video used with thanks to BBC Midlands Today)