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Knowledge Exchange & Innovation Associate - Gelponics Project [2-year fixed term]

CHAP - Crop Health and Protection

Location: Harpenden
Salary: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 18th November 2020
Expires: 18th January 2021

Would you like to contribute to an exciting new research project aiming to decarbonise hydroponic food production? CHAP are partners on the Gelponics Project: ‘Smart hydrogels containing graphene-based sensors for precision vertical farming’, led by AEH Innovative Hydrogel Ltd and funded through the Innovate UK Transforming Food Production challenge call. The project will conduct timely research and development to decarbonise hydroponics through innovations in novel hydrogel growing media, sensing and control and systems engineering. We are looking for someone from an agri-food R&D background with experience in knowledge exchange processes to join the project and help to deliver the stakeholder engagement, dissemination and stakeholder engagement programme.

As part of the Gelponics team, this role will be responsible for co-ordinating research and knowledge exchange on this project, over its two-year duration. The post-holder will develop a range of knowledge exchange and dissemination activities in collaboration with project colleagues and work with the CHAP Innovation Team to explore innovation opportunities within the sector.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Provide project support for the Gelponics industrial research project, maintaining regular liaison with project colleagues and working collaboratively with Stockbridge Technology Centre to realise successful R&D trials in glasshouse and vertical farm systems
  • Lead on knowledge exchange and dissemination of the Gelponics project, working with partners and CHAP’s Innovation Network Lead
  • Proactively research the sector and engage with key stakeholders to understand industry priorities and common challenges, and to allow for effective co-design of technology
  • Conduct market analyses, understand end-user barriers to/enablers of adoption, and identify key target markets for dissemination and demonstration
  • Work with the Innovation Network Lead and Stockbridge Technology Centre to develop a commercial advisory group and to maximise dissemination through organised workshops, demonstration days and targeted case studies
  • Undertake environmental sustainability and carbon footprint analyses to develop key performance indicators for the technology
  • Assist with appropriate reporting both within CHAP and to the Monitoring Officer as required.

Applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

  • PhD or equivalent experience: environmental science, agricultural technologies, polymer science, environmental engineering
  • Proven knowledge exchange experience within a research or innovation environment
  • Experience of business engagement with industrial clients and SMEs
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines and handle multiple operational duties simultaneously
  • Experience of motivating and communicating with a team of staff
  • Effective communication skills, written and verbal, including report writing and dissemination of project outputs
  • Skills in using social media platforms
  • Ability to develop creative approaches to problem solving
  • Project management experience – ability to assess and organise resources and plan and progress work activities
  • Ability to work from own initiative but able to recognise when to seek advice from others
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