Agritech speakers announced for Venturefest South West

Venturefest South West, a flagship event for innovators, entrepreneurs and investors, has announced a top line up of speakers for the agri-tech session which will look at new opportunities in the fast changing and developing agri-tech sector from technology, data, resource management and novel crops to animal and plant health. The agri-tech session will form part of the overall event which will see speakers from the Met Office and Innovate UK share insights.

Lead by University of Exeter, the agri-tech speakers will focus on the opportunities to develop collaborative research and innovation projects in this increasingly important and growing sector, the excellent opportunities for investment and export and how to bring together the region’s existing and emerging agri-tech businesses with the region’s academic knowledge base.

Joining the session and providing the wisdom of his experience in designing, building and commercially selling wireless sensing systems for the dairy industry is prominent figure in the UK agricultural engineering sector, Toby Mottram, founder of eCow and Douglas Bomford Trust Professor of Farm Mechanisation at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. Toby Mottram is also the co-inventor of robotic milking, cow breath sampling, in-line milk progesterone analysis and in 2003 the rumen telemetry bolus which he has sold worldwide through eCow since 2011. In 2015 he was appointed BBSRC/Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow charged to develop a new business to revolutionise dairy cow fertility.

Additional agri-tech speakers include Dr Khalid Mahmood, Head of Business Development at Rothamsted Research, the longest running agricultural research station in the world and Dr Michael Jarvis, Associate Professor in Virology and Immunology at Plymouth University and leading expert in the construction of a vaccine against Ebola virus. Specialists from University of Exeter also include Prof Robbie McDonald, Chair in Natural Environment and authority on the science, policy and practical implications of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in badgers and Prof Karen Anderson, Associate Professor in Remote Sensing and lead in the use of lightweight drone technology to deliver environmental science and management data.

Alex Huke, Impact and Partnership Development Manager at University of Exeter and agri-tech session facilitator for Venturefest South West, explains, “The south west region has a high economic dependency on farming and agriculture alongside a growing agri-tech sector. The region’s business base, working alongside leading researchers, is well positioned to develop new business solutions addressing the multiple challenges of food security, sustainable food production, resource management and animal and plant health. The agri-tech session at Venturefest South West will explore ways in which new technology such as drones and remote sensing, alongside big data and data analytics can be used to support increased productivity. It will also explore possible funding routes and links to regional agri-tech programmes.”

Venturefest South West will be held at Sandy Park, Exeter on 18th October and will bring together hundreds of talented small enterprise innovators and entrepreneurs from across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset along with investors on the lookout for emerging talent.

Attendees can make valuable connections and take away insights and advice from world-class speakers and the region’s trailblazing technology companies through a mix of talks, workshops and exhibitions. As well as agri-tech, the event will focus on innovation in Digital Health, Marine Tech, Creative Digital including games development, Photonics and Big Data.

Venturefest South West is on 18th October 2016 at Sandy Park, Exeter. The event is free to attend and is sponsored by Innovate UK. Those wishing to attend need to register at