Posted 3 July
"The teaching and learning our Marshal Papworth Scholars are benefitting from will affect communities internationally – developing sustainable agriculture around the world and changing lives for the better.
Professor Ken Sloan, Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal and Tom Arthey at the seminar.
Harper Adams University Chancellor, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has met a group of scholars who will use their studies at the University to benefit communities in Africa and India.
Her Royal Highness met the 2023 Marshal Papworth Scholars during her visit to the University, during which she heard about some of the Integrated Pest Management research being carried out by the Entomology group, and received a briefing from University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan about the University’s Together, We Will Make the Difference 2030 strategy.
In the Entomology laboratories on the Harper Adams Future Farm, The Chancellor heard about researchers’ work examining the impact of the vine weevil.
Reader in Entomology Dr Tom Pope said: “Vine weevil remains an economically important pest of a wide range of crops, including fruit crops such as strawberry and blueberry, as well as ornamental crops.
“A key reason for the continued importance of this pest is the difficulty that growers have in detecting the presence of vine weevil adults within crops before losses occur.
“To address this problem, we are working to develop a lure to attract vine weevils into a monitoring tool and to combine this with a ‘smart’ camera system that automatically detects the presence of this species and then alerts the grower. This project brings together agronomists at Zest ICM, crop protection company Sentomol, and academic collaborators at the Natural Resources Institute at University of Greenwich.
“It was a pleasure to show Her Royal Highness this work.”
Following this, the Chancellor proceeded to meet guests at a seminar on Sustainable Agriculture. including this year’s Marshal Papworth Scholars, representatives of the charitable organisations they are working with and diplomatic representatives from the students' home countries.
The Scholars started their 10-week short course at Harper Adams in May.
Among the nations represented in this year’s cohort are Ghana, India, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia. Each Scholar was selected to take part in the course by the charity partners of the Marshal Papworth Fund, including Ripple Effect, Leprosy Mission, ADRA Ghana, Hands Around The World, Tree Aid and Teyapi4Peace.
Speaking to assembled guests at the event, Marshal Papworth Fund Chairman Tom Arthey explained how its eponymous founder had been deeply affected by the plight of communities he had visited in Africa and Asia – and how, after his untimely death, his legacy has lived on through the Fund.
Mr Arthey said: “Marshal’s vision – helping students develop skills they can take back to their homelands and use for the benefit of their own communities – stands as true today as it did while he was alive, and through our work, continues to enrich the lives of people from developing countries around the world.
“Marshal hoped that his legacy would allow just one, or maybe two at best, students to come over to the UK and study agricultural and horticultural practices.
“Fast forward to 2023 and we now have 243 students in our global network, including our one-year Masters scholarships, and our bespoke 10-week short course in sustainable agriculture, which the students before you are studying.”
Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Sloan, said: “During the visit, I was able to explain to Her Royal Highness how our new strategy sets a vision for the University to take us to 2030 and beyond.
“At the heart of that strategy is the strength which collaboration brings and the difference which we can make when we work together – something illustrated in all today’s activities. Research such as that which was on display in our Entomology labs is applied, industry-focused – and has real-world impact.
“Meanwhile, the teaching and learning our Marshal Papworth Scholars are benefitting from will affect communities internationally – developing sustainable agriculture around the world and changing lives for the better.
“Today’s visit was a chance to update the Chancellor on some of the excellent projects currently underway at Harper Adams – and to discuss our ambitious plans for the future.”