Sustainable Crop Production - Agronomy for the 21 Century

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Warwick HRI


This is an intensive one year Masters course, with an option for part time training over 2 or 3 years. It involves students in varied learning methods; lectures, practicals (including two on-farm modules), seminar delivery, tutorials and other particpatory workshops as well as assessed self-learning time. All students will also complete two projects, one a research project or placement and the other as part of their BASIS certificate in crop protection (see below). The syllabus will be the following modules: 'Principles of Crop Production', 'Advances in Plant Pathology', 'Soil, Water and Mineral Nutrition', 'Plant Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics', 'Weed Management and Ecology', 'Integrated Pest Management and Biocontrol', 'Cereal, Oilseed and Root Crop Agronomy', 'BASIS (Crop Protection)', 'Research Skills in Life Sciences', 'Bioscience, Politics and Social Acceptability', 'Project or Placement'. We will also offer opportunities for students to qualify for PA1, PA4 and PA6 certificates and FACTS. These will be offered as extras, not core curriculum. A number of the modules are already offered at Warwick as parts of existing MSc courses (Plant Bioscience for Crop Production and Enterprise for Horticulture). This new course is specifically designed to address a much wider catchment as well as the severe shortage of well-trained career agronomists. This application comes with letters of support from some of the biggest agrochemical and seed companies working in the UK and some of the larger agronomy providers including ADAS, 'the UK's largest independent provider of environmental consultancy, rural development services and policy advice.' Further, we have letters of support from representatives of the growers themselves, AHDB and some Grower Associations. This level of support and enthusiasm for the course recognises the care we have taken to develop a course that meets the needs of all these stakeholders. Detailed discussions have taken place between Warwick and Dow AgroSciences (who have their UK trials and research base at Warwick), as well as other interested parties , to create a curriculum fit-for-purpose for students who will become career agronomists or trials managers. By meeting these needs the stakeholders see the Warwick 'Sustainable Crop Production' course as a real need-driven answer to their current troubled ability to recruit into agronomy and trials posts. Not only have many of the stakeholders written in support of the course, some are participating in teaching it. ADAS will deliver most of the 'Cereal, Oilseed and Rootcrop Agronomy' module on their own trials sites. Several companies (inc ADAS and Dow) have offered to take students for placements. All see that BASIS qualification as a big bonus, and this along with the chance to preview future possible recruits has fuelled their enthusiasm. BASIS uses experiental, in-field teaching to familiarise the students with real, everyday agricultural problems. Whilst this is farm-based, at the other - but equally important - end of the production spectrum we train the students in 'Bioscience, Politics and Social Acceptability', to understand why society has concerns with agriculture/food production and the environment. This module covers aspects such as ethics, communication, engagement with trade and commercialisation and consumer choice. The modules taught at Warwick HRI cover all the aspects of advancing agricultural bioscience important to modern and future agricultural practices. This is not to say that they are removed from everyday farming. On the contrary, all our modules include practical elements or field trips to embed academic understanding and critical appraisal of topics in current practice. Recruitment of able students will remain a challenge. We plan that the companies and growers supporting this application will help illustrate the opportunities and satisfaction to be found in product



Richard Napier (Principal Investigator) orcid
William Finch-Savage (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Eric Holub (Researcher Co-Investigator)
John Clarkson (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Graham Teakle (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Sarah Cook (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Elizabeth Dowler (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Ralph Noble (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Paul Neve (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Daniel Eastwood (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Robert Freedman (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Andrew Mead (Researcher Co-Investigator)
S Sreenivasaprasad (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Rosemary Collier (Researcher Co-Investigator)
John Walsh (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Peter Mills (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Susan Roques (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Andrew Thompson (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid
Gary Bending (Researcher Co-Investigator)
John Hammond (Researcher Co-Investigator) orcid
Steven Adams (Researcher Co-Investigator)
David Chandler (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Hendrik Schaefer (Researcher Co-Investigator)
David Skirvin (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Peter Berry (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Roy Kennedy (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Michael Challen (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Guy Barker (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Deborah Fuller (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Jose Gutierrez-Marcos (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Peter Eastmond (Researcher Co-Investigator)
David Pink (Researcher Co-Investigator)
Wyn Grant (Researcher Co-Investigator)


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