First piloted in 2021, SCI launched a new Scholarship Scheme, the SCI Sydney Andrew Scholarships, to support 10 PhD students studying subjects in emerging areas of agriculture and the chemical industry.
We are delighted to announce that Oludare Durodola, from the University of Aberdeen, has been awarded an SCI Sydney Andrew Scholarship of £3,000 to support his PhD project, “Optimising water use and soil carbon sequestration - can agricultural co-cropping systems provide multiple benefits to address climate change?”.
Dr Sydney Andrew, a brilliant industrial chemical engineer who exemplified the SCI mission of encouraging the application of chemical and related sciences for public benefit, died in November 2011. A life member of SCI, Dr Andrew was awarded the Society’s Medal and have a lecture on ‘Neglected Science: a view from industry’. He bequeathed a substantial share of his estate to SCI for the support of scientific innovation on the theme of neglected science. These are areas of science which, though of importance in agriculture and the chemical industry, receive scant attention from academic research, and for academic research into Neglected Science
Here Oludare tells us about his work:
I am a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen and the James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom sponsored through the Scotland’s Hydro Nation Scholars Programme. I obtained a MSc in Water Engineering at Pan African University and Abou Bekr Belkaid University, Algeria and a B.Tech (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria. Previously, I worked as a water management consultant at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Italy supporting the development of different project proposals. I also have experience as a site engineer and worked as a teaching and research assistant at Federal University Dutsinma, Nigeria.
My PhD research titled “Optimising water use and soil carbon sequestration - can agricultural co-cropping systems provide multiple benefits to address climate change?” is aimed at examining the role of co-cropping systems in sustainable water use and carbon sequestration in temperate systems using isotope techniques. Despite the potentials of co-cropping in improving yields, enhanced water use, and improving soil health, it is still considered experimental and not yet widely practiced in temperate regions. Therefore, there is a need to study the role of water availability on competitive water use between co-existing crops and how this interacts with soil carbon. The degree to which complementary resource use occurs is controlled by factors including climate, resource availability, plant traits and management practices. The success of co-cropping systems therefore depends on hydrological, eco-physiological and biogeochemical interlinkages via plant-soil-water interactions. Associated water and carbon cycles are tightly coupled, but they are mostly studied in isolation, so that feedbacks and thresholds are poorly understood. This research focuses on disentangling these interactions to gain a better understanding of the processes underlying optimal co-cropping systems for multiple benefits, including water use and carbon sequestration in Scotland and globally in the face of climate change.
Through my PhD research, I aim to develop a decision support framework for selecting appropriate crop combinations for sustainable water management and carbon sequestration while putting Scotland at the forefront of innovation for novel agricultural systems in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
University of Aberdeen and The James Hutton Institute, UK