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14 June, 2018 - 11:05 By Kate Sweeney

£3.2m agri-informatics hub underway at Cranfield

A new £3.2 million agri-informatics facility at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire is underway. It is designed to provide the UK with a centre of excellence in data science related to precision agriculture. 

Cranfield and its partners will use the facility to increase data quantity and quality, while using innovative informatics to support novel business, management and policy approaches in the agricultural sector. 

The facility will be the home of the National Reference Centre for Soils and associated land information system, LandIS. It will be shared with Agri-EPI Centre which will focus on AgriTech research and innovation.

Funding for the facility has come from Innovate UK, Agri-EPI Centre, the Wolfson Foundation and the university itself, with construction scheduled for completion in 2019. 

A ground-breaking ceremony was led by George Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; representatives of Innovate UK and Agri-EPI Centre; and Professor Sir Peter Gregson, vice-chancellor and chief executive of Cranfield University.

Eustice said: “Protecting and nurturing our nation’s soils is a cornerstone of our future farming policy. This new agri-informatics facility will help us develop the science, research and innovation that we need in this area, combined with the lessons that have been passed down through generations. 

“As we work towards delivering our ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan, I look forward to continuing our essential work with Cranfield University.”

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, added: “Cranfield has a proud tradition of making world-leading contributions to the environment and agricultural sectors, recognised earlier this year by the award of our fifth Queen’s Anniversary Prize. 

“This new facility will play a key role in addressing future research challenges and will be an invaluable resource in achieving the goals set out in the Government’s Environment Plan.”

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