Changing the future of food and farming

ORC begins collaboration with the Royal Agricultural University (RAU)

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has agreed a collaborative partnership with the Organic Research Centre in Cirencester (ORC) to expand industry links and research and teaching opportunities.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed virtually last week (17 September) by Jo Price, Vice-Chancellor of the RAU and Professor Neil Ravenscroft, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), together with Dr Bruce Pearce, Director of Research and Innovation from the ORC and Lucy MacLennan, CEO.

Lucy MacLennan (left) and Jo Price (right) at the ‘virtual signing’

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) is the UK’s leading independent research centre for the development of organic/agroecological food production and land management solutions to key global issues including climate change, soil and biodiversity conservation, and food security.

The ORC’s recent relocation, after 40 years, from Newbury to Trent Lodge in Cirencester has made it a close neighbour of the RAU, and has thus provided a timely opportunity for the two organisations to work together.

The partnership will provide both organisations with enhanced opportunities to attract new sources of collaborative research funding as well as the potential for increasing recruitment of postgraduate research students. With a larger pool of experienced researchers, the collaboration will also offer research students enhanced supervision, as well as students benefitting from the knowledge of ORC staff through specialist lectures and research seminars.

As part of this collaboration, the ORC will benefit from access to the University’ extensive online library and associated resources, and key professional and research staff will be recognised as Visiting Fellows of the University.

Lucy MacLennan, CEO of the Organic Research Centre said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the ORC to work alongside the RAU. Through this partnership we will be able to learn from each other and really help shape the future direction of the industry both through our research but also through supporting RAU students in their studies. This MoU fulfils one of the strategic ambitions for our organisation which is to build strong collaborations with leading organisations such as the RAU, so that we can continue to drive our research programme into improving organic and agroecological farming methods, whilst engaging with the widest audience.”

Professor Neil Ravenscroft, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the RAU, said: “We are excited to be entering into this mutually-beneficial partnership with the Organic Research Centre. They have a strong track record in gaining research funding which is something we are keen to increase as we seek to raise our research output among growing global challenges in food production and supply chains.

“We are committed to education and research into multiple systems of food production, which includes organic and regenerative agriculture, and this partnership will provide valuable opportunities to collaborate on new areas of research.

“The RAU has been at the forefront of agricultural education and a key contributor to the land-based sector for 175 years, so brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and resource to the partnership. The ORC are keen to be part of the RAU community and we look forward to welcoming them.”

For more information about the ORC visit www.organicresearchcentre.com

Visit www.rau.ac.uk/study to view the range of available undergraduate and postgraduate courses on offer at the RAU.

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