Image: Robotriks

Image: Robotriks

As Cornwall welcomes world leaders for the G7 summit, the University of Plymouth is among the organisations taking part in an exhibition of the region’s ingenuity and innovation in Falmouth.

It aims to showcase pioneering technology, research and partnerships across the agriculture, robotics and sustainability sectors. More details of the University projects on show can be found below.

ReCon Soil

Developing soils from waste to tackle a key global issue in relation to the threat to food security from soil degradation.
Healthy soil is at the heart of agriculture and maintaining quality food production. Soil is also the largest carbon store on earth, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity. The Reconstructed Soils from Waste project (ReCon Soil) will develop and roll out at least three new soil recipes made from locally sourced construction waste, dredged sediments and agricultural by-products.
FABSoil plant at Eden Project

Plant Factory Cornwall

Creating the conditions for our future food and medicine to grow
Plant Factory Cornwall aims to facilitate the development and expansion of hydroponic, multi-tier controlled growing environments utilising renewable energy to provide low carbon semi-automated crop production for urban and rural settings. 
The research, led by Professor Mick Fuller of University of Plymouth School of Biological and Marine Sciences, is focusing on prototyping automated, programmable LED lights that could provide ‘light recipes’ to deliver the necessary requirements for plants during their differing growth stages, with pinpoint precision.
Plant Factory Cornwall
Chef Jude Kereama, owner of Kota in Porthleven and star of BBC Two’s Great British Menu
Image: Optomen Television © 2020. An all3media Company

The future of medicine is clear

Inspiring innovation and ingenuity within Cornwall’s food sector

Chef Jude Kereama, owner of Kota in Porthleven and star of BBC Two’s Great British Menu, was inspired by Plant Factory Cornwall to create The Future of Medicine is Clear. The dish was Jude's take on the TV programme's British Innovation theme, and was influenced by the advances Plant Factory Cornwall is making in food as medicine.

Find out more about Plant Factory Cornwall

Fieldwork Robotics

Developing robots that improve agricultural economics to enhance our food security

Fieldwork Robotics is a University of Plymouth spinout company developing a range of harvesting robots to support the agriculture sector. Led by Dr Martin Stoelen, Fieldwork is developing soft robot arm technology for selective harvesting tasks in horticulture. 

The robot arm joints are able to vary their stiffness in real-time, softening to withstand an impact during fast ballistic phases of movement, and then stiffening to ensure accuracy during the approach and picking phase.

Find out more about Fieldwork Robotics

Fieldworks robotics


Designing technology to ensure we have sustainable local produce

In collaboration with University of Plymouth research projects Ginium enables UK growers to displace the food import market with locally produced goods.

Their vertical farming methods solve many issues with food growing in the UK. It is season-less, climate-change proof, requires less land than field based agriculture and creates year-round employment rather than seasonal labour.

Find out more about Ginium



Building affordable robots to help farming respond to our climate emergency

Robotriks is robotics focused research and development company, and part of a cluster of exciting technology companies emerging at the University of Plymouth in conjunction with the Agri-Tech Cornwall project.

Recent projects include the Robotriks Traction Unit (RTU), a low-cost robotic platform which can be fitted with almost any agricultural implement could help farmers across the UK to overcome the lack of available manual labour.

Jake, Co-Founder of Robotriks

Discover more about agricultural technology at University of Plymouth

Robot arm picking cauliflowers

Agri-Tech Cornwall

The University of Plymouth is proud to be a partner on the Agri-Tech Cornwall project, a £10 million initiative to help the United Kingdom become a world leader in agricultural technology and sustainability.
Researchers from the University will share their expertise and collaborate with small and medium-sized Cornish companies to research the future sustainability of the sector.
Thermal image of Plymouth taken by Matthew Fox, Environmental Building Group - Special Commendation in Visions of Sustainability 2015

Sustainable Earth Institute

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.
We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. 
We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

Top 10 sustainable university

We are ranked 9th in the world out of all the institutions featured in the 2021 tables for our efforts in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 17: partnerships for the goals.
The University has established its position as an international pioneer in sustainability practices, research, education and engagement. 
THE Impact Rankings SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals 2021 Top 10