Writtle News

Innovative student project in three different countries

August 2017

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Writtle University College is working with two international universities to give students the opportunity to develop an agricultural product.

The three-way partnership between Writtle University College, JAMK University in Finland, and Fontys International Business School in the Netherlands, is designed to give students the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary and international project.

Students from each university will form a working group and spend five weeks with each other at the three different universities. They are tasked with developing an agricultural product, or product differentiation, based on market and consumer research, supported by an international company.

The students will conduct market research and look at consumer behaviour at Fontys; come to Writtle University College for teaching on agricultural techniques and management, as well as post-harvest expertise; and then go to JAMK to look at sustainability and resource management.

The areas they can choose from for their product could be cereals, milk, meat, vegetables, fruit and fibre crops, depending on their interest.

Henry Matthews, Agriculture lecturer at Writtle University College, said: “This is a unique exchange experience that gives students the opportunity to develop an agricultural product from conception to market readiness.

“The career opportunities in the agricultural industry are now varied, including product development and marketing, with sustainability and environmental responsibility becoming more and more important. By taking advantage of the complementary portfolios of the Dutch and Finnish institutions, this project gives students the opportunity to develop skills in these areas, widening their interest and the choice of careers they can pursue after graduation. It enables them to work in a multi-disciplinary and applied way with international colleagues while developing their business and presentation skills, showing how an idea, with the necessary market research and development, can become a viable business.”

Initially, second year horticulture students will be given the chance to take part in the project, with the first intake going on placements in the second semester of the 2017/18 academic year. Agriculture students soon to be offered the opportunity.