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NEWS: NIAB ASSET award winners are top of the class

22 January 2014

Four UK crop science students have each been awarded a £3,000 bursary by NIAB for outstanding achievement in their studies.

Laura Bishop, Charles Garrard, Lauren Hladun and Tom Pope are winners of this year’s ASSET (Agricultural Science Student Education Training) prize, a joint initiative between NIAB and four leading crop science universities; Reading, Harper Adams, Newcastle and Nottingham.

The students were presented with their awards by NIAB’s Commercial Technical Director Bill Clark and Sarah Cowlrick, CEO of the AICC (Association of Independent Crop Consultants) in front of delegates at the AICC’s three-day national technical conference on 15th January (see image - Charles Garrard and Laura Bishop missing).NIAB ASSET award presentation

Bill Clark says: “Congratulations to Laura, Charles, Lauren and Tom on their tremendous achievement winning this award. They have shown outstanding initiative, knowledge and ambition throughout their studies, demonstrating an understanding of the issues faced by the crop production sector, and we all look forward to seeing how their careers progress.

“Our industry needs undergraduates, just like these four, to take jobs in applied research, agronomy and knowledge transfer for the future benefit of the arable sector. The ASSET scheme supports this process, encouraging students to take ‘crop’ modules and directing them towards crop orientated dissertations. We help them with their studies by providing valuable agronomic information and leads, tailored to the curriculum of each university, as well as important networking links with the applied research and agronomy industry through NIAB.”

The award scheme began in 2008 and NIAB has to date awarded £72,000 in student bursaries, supported by agricultural charities the NIAB Trust and The Morley Agricultural Foundation. It is open to second year students enrolled in specific crop-based modules at the four universities. The winners, one from each university, are chosen on the quality of specific second year project work, a recommendation from their tutors and an interview with NIAB staff.

The four winners were also given free places on the annual John Forrest Memorial Award communications course, supported by The Felix Cobbold Trust and The Morley Agricultural Foundation, and aimed at promising young agriculturalists. The course, which takes eight candidates each year, takes place over three days each January and includes topics such as dealing with the press, interview techniques, photography, powerpoint skills, and film-making. Run by Green Shoots Productions it is hosted by NIAB in Cambridge.

2013/14 Award Winners

Laura Bishop - Harper Adams University

Originally from Folkestone Laura is studying for a BSc Hons Agriculture and is currently on a placement year with Syngenta. Before going to university she took a year out travelling, including going to Australia, New Zealand and Cambodia where she spent time working on farms and in schools. Following graduation Laura is initially looking to gain further experience of farming in other countries before moving into a career in crop research and development, exploring ways to meet future food demands.Charles Garrard

Charles Garrard – Newcastle University

Charles is studying for a BSc Agriculture with Honours in Agronomy. Originally from Suffolk he is the first in his family to go into the farming industry. He has spent three months working on crop trials near Cambridge and has gained practical experience on farms across East Anglia. His final year dissertation topic is on how to reduce mineral fertiliser inputs in a arable system by utilising alternatives such as liquid anaerobic digestate, green waste compost and biosolids. Charles is aiming for a career in agronomy or farm management but would like to travel after graduation to gain experience of different arable farming systems around the world. He was a member of Newcastle University’s winning Cereals Challenge team in 2013.

Lauren Hladun – University of NottinghamLauren Hladun

A BSc Hons Agriculture student Lauren is currently on placement with the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmer scheme, part of the McDonald’s Farm Forward programme. She is monitoring the pork supply chain, from farm to fork, with Dalehead Foods, working on farm and in abattoirs looking at bacon manufacture. She will also be following the production of other ingredients used by McDonald’s UK, working at Cargill, OSI Group and McCains as part of the placement programme. On graduation Lauren is aiming to take some time to travel and work abroad in the agricultural industry, before a career in farm management including taking the BASIS agronomy certificate.

Tom Pope – University of Reading

Tom grew up on an arable farm in Somerset and took a gap year before university, travelling to Canada, Tom PopeFiji, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand including working on an arable farm and a dairy farm in New Zealand. He is in his final year studying for a BSc in Agriculture and is aiming for a career in farm management and agronomy. Outside of studies and farming Tom enjoys surfing, kayaking, sailing, shooting and walking.