New funding for research on agriculture and the environment
The Department of Zoology and the Oxford Martin School have received a significant donation from the Login5 Foundation to undertake research on digital solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture. Queen's graduate student Joseph Poore is Co-Investigator on the project.
Agriculture is a major driver of humanity’s most pressing environmental problems. A key challenge is finding solutions that can scale up to the world’s 570 million farms. Digital tools, like mobile phone applications, are highly scalable and could reach millions of farms with environmental monitoring, benchmarking, advice, and incentives.
New funding from the Login5 Foundation will support an ambitious project to explore the role of digital tools in improving agricultural sustainability. The project will expand a data platform called HESTIA which has been developed at the Oxford Martin School with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature. HESTIA, the flagship output of the Oxford Martin Programme on Food Sustainability Analytics, allows environmental impacts to be calculated from farmer data.
The new project will connect digital tools that farmers are already using to the HESTIA data platform. This will allow farmers to understand their greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity impacts, water use, and other impact indicators and receive advice on how to improve them. The project will then use field trials in different countries to quantify the effects of these tools on farmer behaviour.
Joseph says: "This is an incredible opportunity to continue building the HESTIA data platform and to undertake a large-scale experiment that seeks to improve the sustainability of farms worldwide. We are extremely grateful to the Login5 Foundation for making this potentially transformative work possible."
You can read more about Joseph's previous research on pages 12-13 of the College's 2018 Newsletter.