AgriFoRwArdS Celebrate a Successful Conference

We were very pleased to be able to welcome delegates to the University of Lincoln for the AgriFoRwArdS CDT’s 3rd Annual Conference on the 22nd and 23rd June 2022.

The Annual Conference is a key event in the CDT calendar, and this was the first time we have been able to hold the event in person due to Covid-19. The aim of the conference is to share research, ideas, experiences, innovation, and technology. We want to allow delegates to expand their knowledge, strengthen their practice and facilitate collaborations and pathways to impact. This is why we are so excited to have been able to give our community this first real chance for collaboration and networking.

“Really got me thinking about how to improve my own research – inspirational”

The train strikes tried to derail us, but the CDT and Conference Presenters managed to adapt, resulting in a great mix of in-person and virtual presentations. Left: Prof Nick Hawes, University of Oxford. Right: Dr Fernando Auat, Heriot Watt University.

The theme of the 2022 Agriforwards Conference, ‘Autonomous Robots in Sustainable Agriculture’, was inspired by the University of Lincoln’s representation of agri-robotics at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Click here to read more about the CDT at COP26. The UK Government selected the University of Lincoln to share with COP26 its cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence technology, which is influencing the future of sustainable food production.

The theme allowed for inspiring keynote presentations representing a variety of aspects of agri-food robotics research.

“The variety of topics covered helped me broaden my perspective which was really helpful”

Student engagement with the presentations, and the conference as a whole, was exceptional.

We also heard from the inspiring AgriFoRwArdS students. Those currently studying their PhDs at the Universities of East Anglia and Cambridge presented their research to delegates. For many, this was their first opportunity to present in-person to such a diverse group of people.

The student presentations were very well received, with Professor Simon Pearson (Director of the Lincoln Institute for Agricultural Technology and CDT Co-Investigator) saying,

“The quality of the student presentations and the science is really impressive. They are exceptionally diverse and of exceptional quality”

The MSc students also had the opportunity to disseminate their research, creating posters demonstrating their MSc Project Proposals. The posters where displayed in the Isaac Newton Building Atrium, where delegates networked during breaks. The MSc students were on hand to answer any questions delegates may have had about their research.

The Conference Dinner was hosted in the grounds of the Old Hall, at the University of Lincoln’s stunning Riseholme Campus. Delegates were given the opportunity to explore the Riseholme Campus and see the ground-breaking work ongoing within the agri-robotics sector.

Delegates enjoyed the drinks reception while overlooking the beautiful Riseholme lake, giving a stunning setting to enjoy relaxed conversation. A three-course dinner was then served in a marquee, with the sides open so that delegates could continue to enjoy the charming views.

“Well organised event. Great development opportunity for the students”

“The setting for the dinner and marquee were excellent. Ordering the sun was a good idea”

The evening social event gave delegates an opportunity to network in a relaxed environment at the wonderful University of Lincoln Riseholme Campus.

Once all presentations were complete, CDT Director Professor Marc Hanheide led the voting for the Conference awards. The audience voted live for the Best Student Presentation, the Best MSc Poster, and Most Entertaining Presentation.

Two of our wonderful AgriFoRwArdS CDT Industrial Partners generously donated the prizes for these conference awards, The Institution of Agriculture Engineers (IAgrE) and Agri-TechE. Winners received a £50 book voucher and student winners also benefit from a free membership to one of these generous prize sponsors.

Thank you again to everyone involved in the planning, organisation and running of the conference.

Thank you to all delegates for making the AgriFoRwArdS 3rd Annual CDT Conference such a successful event.

Credit to Emily of Emily Florence Photography for the wonderful photographs taken at the Conference.