Food security and the role of agriculture in stimulating economic growth are key issues in today's challenging global environment.
Sustainable agricultural growth needs to be achieved against a background of on-going climate change, globalised markets for agricultural inputs and products, rapidly evolving regional and global trade regulation and the appearance of new threats from emergent crop and livestock pests and diseases.
This programme seeks to look at these issues from the potential of agricultural and biotechnological science to revolutionise agricultural production, as well as the economic and social context in which agriculture operates.
- Dr Peter Burt, leader of NRI's Agriculture for Sustainable Development programme and leader of the Soils and Environments course is a biometeorologist and expert on climate change.
- David Grzywacz, deputy programme leader and project tutor, is a specialist in biological crop protection who also leads the Integrated Pest Management course.
- Professor Chris Atkinson, Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, leads the agronomy course and is a crop physiologist with 30 years' global and practical experience of agriculture.
- Professor John Morton, Professor of Development Anthropology with 25 years' experience in applied social research and consultancy for rural development runs the livestock course.
- Professor Jeremy Haggar, Head of Agriculture Health and Environment Department runs the Agroforestry course, Jeremy has 20 years' experience of agroforestry and in tropical agroecosystems around the world.
- Claire Coote, an agricultural economist with over 30 years' experience, in agricultural development and marketing in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean leads the Economics, Agriculture, and Marketing course.
- Professor Susan Seal, Professor of Molecular Biology who has 25 years' experience in plant molecular biology, biotechnology and transgenic crops issues teaches on biotechnology and disease diagnosis.
- Dr Rory Hillocks is a Plant pathologist of 30 years standing and head of NRI's European Centre for Integrated Pest Management who leads the pest disease management course.
- Adrienne Martin, NRI's Director of Programmes and Dr Barry Pound a visiting fellow in livelihoods and farming systems, run the Agricultural Innovation for Development course. Both staff members have a wealth of global experience in international agricultural development.
- Professor Phillip Stevenson expert on botanical pesticides and pest behaviour teaches on the Integrated Pest Management course.
- Jerry Cooper NRIs pesticide expert provides teaching on pesticide use application safety and legislation drawing on 30 years global experience of pesticide application.
The programme details
Research Methods (15 credits). This is delivered by a team of NRI and University staff in methods covering use of scientific literature, experimental design, data analysis and statistics, project planning, report writing and research communication.
Tools for Sustainable Agriculture (15 credits). Delivered by NRI's team of agricultural experts to introduce students to the core concepts including pest and disease identification, pesticide safety, biosafety, phytosanitary practice, biotechnology underlying modern sustainable agriculture practice
Integrated Pest Management (15 credits). A collegiate team of NRI's experts on the integrated management of will deliver this course looking at different tools for pest and disease control and how they can be combined into practical management systems.
Independent research project (60 credits). Supervised by NRIs staff of agricultural experts' gives students a chance to focus on a particular topic of interest to the student and undertake independent scientific research.
Agronomy (15 Credits). The course covers the science of crop production and the environmental impact of agriculture.
Agroforestry (15 Credits). The course will provide an introduction to different agroforestry systems, how trees and crop interactions affect productivity and sustainability, and the social and economic factors that affect their adoption by farmers. This course explores the role of modern agroforestry in sustainable production and biodiversity preservation.
Economics, Agriculture, and Marketing (15 credits). This introduces economic issues in agriculture and the constraints to and opportunities for improving agricultural marketing and market access.
Livestock and Sustainable Agriculture (15 Credits). This introduces students to the role of livestock in developing countries and its contribution to cropping and sustainable land use.
Plant Disease Management (15 Credits). This course aimed at developing an understanding of theoretical and applied approaches to managing plant disease.
Plant Quarantine and Sustainable Resource Management (15 credits). Taught by Dr Sue Seal NRIs biosafety expert and Dr Rob Black, a senior lecturer in plant quarantine who has world-wide experience of biosafety and regulation, this explores concepts and practices of plant quarantine in todays globalised agriculture
Agricultural Innovation for Development (15 Credits). This combined natural and social science course explores how integrated systems approaches, broad based partnerships and participation can support agricultural innovations and development.
Soils and Environments (15 credits). This course aims to develop the student's knowledge of soil systems in the context of sustainable agriculture and development.
This programme provides specialist expertise for those working or wishing to work in agricultural development or research, or seeking an advanced agricultural or development qualification in the UK and overseas.
Students graduate with a broad general knowledge of agricultural applications in sustainable development and also more focused in-depth knowledge of an area of specialization.
Some students go on to specialise in research through PhD programmes in other UK or international institutes while others return to enhanced careers in government. NGO or private industry.
Key programme features
The programme focuses on agriculture in developing countries and draws on the Natural Resources Institute's unrivalled pool of expertise in issues of crop and livestock production, pest and disease management, agricultural marketing, agricultural biotechnology, biosecurity and agroforestry.
The programme is focussed around providing students with the key concepts needed to address these issues, learning from real case studies delivered by experts who are actively implementing sustainable agriculture projects around the world.
The research project on a topic of the students choosing benefits from having at the Natural Resources Institute a team of supervisors who are research practitioners with global range of experience in both the technology and science of modern agriculture and the social and economic aspects of agricultural systems.
Research topics benefit from the modern suite of laboratories, growth rooms and analytical facilities at NRI which underpin the Institute's very active research programme on agriculture related issues.
What students can expect from the course
This is a full time one year course which can be started either in September or January. Teaching and learning includes a variety of educational styles including seminars, lectures, group work, assignments and tutorials. Assessment consists of a combination of assignments, essays, presentations, reports, portfolios and formal examinations.
Formal examinations happen three times a year in January, May and August. The project which constitutes a third of the assessment is submitted either in August of January at the end of the course.
Support training in English and scientific writing to assist students for whom English is not a first language.