Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Eagle Lab Farm launched in Lincoln to boost future of UK agriculture

Barclays is launching a new Eagle Lab Farm at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme Agri-tech research campus.

The Lab and the surrounding farm offers entrepreneurs and researchers access to Lincoln’s Agri-tech resources – to support farmers as they tackle ongoing challenges and help rural farming communities become leaders in applying technology to agriculture.

Barclays’ partnership with the University of Lincoln will support the UK farming sector to innovate, grow and thrive and become the most digitally enabled farming industry in the world.

It will be the 25th Lab in Barclays’ Eagle Lab network of co-working spaces for start-ups and scale-ups around the country, the largest network of its kind in the United Kingdom.

The resources on offer at the Eagle Lab Farm include a dedicated robotics lab, a demonstration packhouse and a model refrigerated supermarket aisle available for the entrepreneurs and researchers.

The Riseholme research campus also features traditional test and growing areas, including soft fruit and crop growing facilities, beef cattle and sheep herds, a walled garden and commercial polytunnel growth spaces.

Mark Suthern, National Head of Agriculture at Barclays said: “Our vision is to help UK agriculture to become the most digitally-savvy farming sector in the world. The Eagle Lab Farm is one of the many ways we’re helping the food supply chain reach this goal. We hope this space will provide start-ups with the opportunity to develop new and exciting technologies, accelerating their business and leading the UK in a new era of farming.”

Alongside providing access to the lab, Barclays will also support entrepreneurs with an on-site Ecosystem Manager, access to banking services, business expertise, mentoring and coaching from scale-up specialists, as well as a full year-round events programme dedicated to promoting technology and innovation in the farming community.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at The University of Lincoln, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Barclays on the Eagle Lab Farm and to offer the next generation of Agri-tech developers the chance to use our facilities. The farming industry is currently facing a number of challenges, so we hope that this residency will provide some solutions to the issues and aid in the recovery of our sector.”

Defra Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “I welcome this partnership between Barclays and the University of Lincoln. Agri-tech can help us address the biggest challenges facing the farming industry and will play a vital role as we take back control of our agricultural policy as we leave the EU.

“Our future farming policy will benefit a range of public goods, such as environmental improvements, but investment in R&D and technology will also encourage more innovation and improve productivity – ensuring farmers can continue to produce the high-quality food we’re renowned for.”

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