Since its formation in November 2000 from the merger of the AstraZeneca and Novartis crop science businesses, Syngenta has significantly refocused its research activities to meet the projected needs of agriculture and food supply. In the light of this a number of strategic enabling technologies have been identified which can facilitate innovative new approaches to crop growth and non-mammalian biotechnology. Sensor science is one of these technologies identified as having the capacity to create a paradigm shift in the future of the sector. To realise this potential the Syngenta UIC model has been developed.
The Centre has been strategically domiciled within a university environment so as to nurture and translate the underpinning sciences (from across the physical and life-sciences interfaces) which will be required to deliver future agricultural products and services. The UIC is based within the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, but is necessarily multidisciplinary owing to the nature of the techniques being researched.
The Syngenta Sensors University Innovation Centre is researching Sensing Systems and Information Communications Technologies for agriculture and farming, but with a central focus on sensors and knowledge-based approaches to support agriculture and farming of the future. Within this remit, the Centre is working in several areas, including:
- new sensing technologies
- wireless sensor networks
- energy harvesting
- information and knowledge management
The Centre has a strategic interest in defining the ICT infrastructure and platforms for farming and agriculture, and identifying the actions and research necessary to bring about the realisation of this ICT infrastructure. The Centre is also interested in the farm-to-fork supply chain and how the technologies of interest can help to improve food quality and reduce environmental burdens.