The John Oldacre Foundation has donated £1 million to critical agricultural research.

£1 million gift to support vital agricultural research

Critical research at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR) is to expand thanks to further investment from the John Oldacre Foundation.

The gift of £1 million will create an expendable endowment fund to support one John Oldacre Research Fellow and two John Oldacre PhD students over the next five years. The remaining balance will then transfer to a permanent endowment fund to fund two John Oldacre PhD students in perpetuity. 

The Research Fellow (a position shared initially by Drs Tim Wilkinson and Becca Wheeler) and each PhD student will be based in the University’s Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR), which has a longstanding reputation as one of the leading research groups in the UK and has a successful track record of rural policy work dating back to the 1960s. 

This research is both important and urgent given the challenges currently facing UK agriculture, and the investment from the John Oldacre Foundation will ensure that the CRPR both continues to thrive and makes a major contribution to the development of effective UK agricultural policy. 

Michael Winter OBE, Professor of Land Economy and Society at Exeter, said: “It is crucial that we are able to continue and expand our research given the challenges faced by the industry.

“Brexit, the challenges of food security, climate change, environmental sustainability, and maintaining the social and economic wellbeing of rural areas all provide significant threats, challenges and opportunities for UK agriculture, which must be addressed now.

“Thanks to this generous investment from the John Oldacre Foundation we can continue to effect real change by researching issues of critical importance to rural areas and using the evidence to influence the development of more effective policy and practice.”

There has been a strong partnership between the John Oldacre Foundation and the University of Exeter since 2011, with the Foundation funding three PhD studentships in succession at the University in priority areas of mutual interest in agriculture, supervised by Professor Winter and Professor Matt Lobley. 

Henry Shouler, Chairman of Trustees of the John Oldacre Foundation said: "The Trustees are very pleased to continue their support of research work at the University of Exeter, and are particularly pleased to have entered into a partnership that ensures John Oldacre's legacy will be maintained in perpetuity through the research and experience of the Oldacre Foundation scholarship recipients."

The John Oldacre Foundation provides financial support for research and education in agricultural sciences that has a public benefit.

For more than 50 years Exeter research has consistently been used to inform governments, businesses and communities about how the land and the environment can be managed better. 

Date: 18 September 2018

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