Staff profile

James  Syrett

James Syrett


Role

Lecturer in Commercial Production to undergraduate and postgraduate students in both Horticulture and Agriculture. Second year tutor to undergraduate Horticulture students.


Biography

At Writtle, I teach modules concerned with commercial horticulture (Fruit, vegetables, salads, cut flowers and ornamentals), as well as science and technology.

As an undergraduate, I studied a broad-spectrum course, including Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Geology, before finally specialising in Plant Science. I try to bring this wide scope into my teaching: to give students the best possible understanding of how plants work from the atomic scale right up to ecosystem level, and from the scale of seconds to evolutionary history.

My postgraduate research project focused on the commercial production of daffodils (Narcissus) in the UK; how the sector can adapt to new growing technologies to improve production of bulbs and cut flowers. This was my introduction to commercial horticulture.

Commercial horticulture careers greatly exceed the number of graduates, and so I am keen to train as many people as possible to enter this crucial sector of industry.


Qualifications

BA (Hons) Natural Sciences Tripos, University of Cambridge


Subject Areas

My main area of interest is in new technologies for growing commercial produce. This includes hydroponic growing systems, robotic farming tools, and sustainable pest and disease management.

In Agriculture, I lecture on production technologies for arable production, as well as novel crops for farm diversification.


Research

I am becoming engaged with plant breeding and developing new varieties for niche sectors such as soft fruit, hardy perennials and houseplants.

Sustainability in Horticulture is also important to me, and I am keen to investigate non-chemical methods of disease and stress prevention for commercial crops. Reduction in plastic consumption, especially for high-tech salad production, is and area I intend to explore. These are areas I would like to open up to student involvement, such as dissertation topics.