This project is a fully-funded one-year industrial MPhil available from the University of Leicester (Department of Engineering) to undertake applied research and development on behalf of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) in Leicester and Leicestershire.
Professor Tanya Vladimirova (Department of Engineering)
Professor Mike Warrington (Department of Engineering)
Project reference: LIH014
You will help inform the development of a new product (beta App) for farmers, enabling them to control the amount of fertiliser they use. The industrial MPhil is funded by the Leicester Innovation Hub through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) monies and the sponsorship of the SME.
The proposed MPhil is a continuation of a collaboration between the Department of Engineering at University of Leicester and a Leicester-based SME, offering a range of services to farmers. The R&D collaboration’s aim is to help farmers increase the efficiency of fertiliser use and thus cut costs and increase yield.
In 2017, the two organisations completed a feasibility study which explored the viability of developing an on-farm system to provide farmers expert advice on variable rate nitrogen fertiliser applications, based on processing of satellite imagery data. A follow-on project with additional partners is proposed to develop a beta prototype.
The goal of the MPhil proposed research project is to take the outcome of the feasibility study further and implement a variable-rate fertiliser decision-making and prescription software tool. The tool will be based on the developed functional model of the system, which is captured with Matlab. The model was validated through test campaigns with farmers. It incorporates several components, such as satellite image processing, Geographic Information System (GIS) functions, and expert agronomist knowledge.
The software tool will be implemented using the ‘C’ programming language. The Matlab model will be constantly upgraded with additional features, as necessary, during the project work, and will be used as a reference for testing of the tool before it is validated by users. Ultimately, the service/product developed through the project will provide the SME with a new product and service which it can sell to farmers (i.e. their business customers). It will have the ability to quickly process satellite data into nitrogen fertiliser application maps.
During this project, you will work closely with the sponsoring Leicester-based SME and the University of Leicester.