Science-loving students visit Agri-Tech Research Centre

A group of Evesham students are set to become the latest pioneers in the fight against climate change after impressing judges of a regional STEM competition with their innovative solutions to food shortages caused by adverse weather.

Six science-loving students from St. Egwin’s Middle School in Worcestershire have been praised for their ideas to combat climate change, and were treated to a guided tour of Pershore College’s Agri-Tech Research centre, bringing to life the ground-breaking technology that featured in their submission to the Worcestershire Middle School STEM Challenge.

The students, along with their teacher Naomi Jones who led the project, were given exclusive access to the hydroponics chamber, which showcases the method of growing plants without using soil with only their roots exposed to nutrient solutions, and were clued into the latest developments and achievements of Pershore College’s research team.

The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) organised the competition, which coincides with the government’s wider initiative to support STEM innovation and education, inviting schools across the county to come up with their best technological solutions to mitigate food supply issues brought about by climate change.

Participating schools completed a workshop designed by STEMworks, and were tasked with identifying a problem that the food manufacturing industry may face in the future and creating an invention to solve that problem.

Anjana Patel, Agri-Tech Research Assistant at Pershore College, was one of the judges for the competition, and was taken aback by the effort and detail that the six students put into their submissions, which included hydroponic chambers and vertical farms.

She said: “I was so impressed that the students from St. Egwin’s had developed and researched an idea that actually features in an active high-end facility, and thought they would benefit from seeing that technology in action.

“The students who came along on the day were incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable and asked lots of great questions. We got to see lots of fantastic entries, but thought that these students would benefit the most from seeing the Agri-Tech Research Centre.

“The centre features working examples of hydroponic chambers and vertical farms, which were both components of the entry which these students made, with our team actively researching and experimenting with a range of agricultural methods and conditions and a variety of plant species.

“They deserve a huge amount of credit for thinking along these lines as not only are these the kinds of problems that will affect us all in the years to come, but the solutions they put forward will likely be the ones put into practice to combat food supply issues.

“They clearly have a love for science so it was great to feed into that and show them what can be achieved when innovative ideas are pursued and enthusiasm for STEM subjects is rewarded.”

For more information about Agri-Tech at Pershore College visit wcg.ac.uk/agritech