May 2021 Seminar Series talk now available on YouTube

Each month the AgriFoRwArdS CDT, hosted by the University of Cambridge, hold a Seminar Series talk designed to bring together the agri-food robotics community.

On Friday 21st May we heard from Rebecca Ward, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Rebecca delivered a talk titled, ‘Building integrated agriculture – a physics-based simulation approach for optimisation of environmental conditions’ where she spoke about simulating the interaction of vegetation with surrounding environments to optimise building-integrated agriculture.

Abstract: The growth of building-integrated agriculture as one potential solution to reducing food miles for city-dwellers brings with it disparate problems that present new challenges to the agriculture industry. The dual aim of keeping energy costs to a minimum while maximising crop growth is particularly challenging. Extensive monitoring provides valuable information and statistical analysis of historic conditions can be used to generate forecasting models. But practical trials to vary conditions may be difficult to carry out in a commercial environment. This is where physics-based simulation can help; by simulating the interaction of the vegetation with the surrounding environment, ‘what-if’ scenario tests can be performed efficiently and the impact of potentially sub-optimal conditions explored. We are fortunate to work closely with the operators of Growing Underground, a farm located in previously disused tunnels in Clapham, London. As part of a long-running project encompassing both monitoring and simulation, a digital twin is being developed which will enable the operator to both visualise current and forecast farm conditions, and to explore future scenarios. In this talk the foundation of the physics-based simulation component of the digital twin will be presented and the wider applicability of the approach to other building-integrated agriculture configurations will be explored.

You can find out more about this project on the University of Cambridge website.

You can access Rebecca’s talk, and all previous Seminar Series talks via out Seminar Series Archive here, or by visiting the AgriFoRwArdS YouTube Channel here.

We operate an opt in policy for the Seminar Series, so if you would like to receive monthly invitations to the talks, please click here, or email

Underground farm in bunker