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 Oluwaseyi Ademola, from the University of Greenwich, has been awarded an SCI Sydney Andrew Scholarship of £3,000 to support his PhD project, “Altered light spectrum and crop growth: photovoltaics and biochemistry”.
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 Oluwaseyi tells us about his work:
‘I am a second-year Ph.D. student supervised by Dr. Elinor Thompson and Prof. Richard Hopkins at the Natural resources Institute, University of Greenwich. I have an MSc degree in Engineering Management (Distinction) from the same University (2021) and a BSc in Agriculture (First Class) from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 2017.
‘The title of my PhD project is, “Altered light spectrum on crop growth: photovoltaics and biochemistry.” I am investigating the effect of growth under tinted transparent photovoltaic panels in a range of crop types, following the application of agrivoltaics in a pilot study of leafy crops. Commercially valuable changes to plant natural products are being explored, with a view to application for biotechnology, biomedicine or food production. The production of both solar electrical yield as well as high-value crops supports the country’s efforts to achieve profitable and net-zero agricultural production. This is being tested in parallel with this project, in a commercial installation of agrivoltaics at a nearby soft fruit business.
‘The plant biochemistry components here extend the above research in covered agriculture, looking at plant nutritional characteristics under skewed light spectra, which is too high-risk to carry out at the farm. This research will also support the renewed interest in natural products from photosynthetic organisms (plants and microbes), and exploits increasing amounts of genetic data and numerous crop genomes. The project therefore includes experiments that attempt to understand the regulatory and biochemical changes that can be promoted by use of altered light spectra, as well as how to avoid precipitating damaging changes in crops while exploiting photovoltaics in agriculture.
University of Greenwich