Agri finalists sowing seeds of innovation at Invent Awards

Invent SM Farm

Two innovative agri-science businesses have been named as finalists in this year’s Invent Awards. They will now go forward to the final and pitch to more than 700 investors, entrepreneurs and researchers on Thursday, October 7.

P_Sense and CropSafe are among 12 companies that will compete for a share of a £33,000 prize fund at the Invent 2019 Awards, run by Connect at Catalyst Inc.

The competition aims to find the most imaginative local inventions with the greatest commercial potential, with the Agri-Science category sponsored by leading ICT company Fujitsu.

P_Sense, led by Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis, a senior lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast, aims to develop and commercialise an optical sensor for environmental monitoring of phosphate in soils, wastewater streams, and surface waters.

CropSafe – the brainchild of St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt students John McElhone and Michael McLaughlin – leverages satellite technology and machine learning to survey agricultural land and identify areas of contamination. Landowners can then quickly act to treat or remove affected crops and prevent the further spread of disease.

Congratulating the agri-science finalists, David Clements, Client Director at Fujitsu NI, said: “With both students and teachers shortlisted, the agri-science category in particular showcases the diverse range of innovative talent we have in Northern Ireland.

“The solutions proposed by both CropSafe and P_Sense tackle pressing issues facing our agricultural community on a local and a global scale as well as the pivotal role technology and digital innovation can play in problem solving.

“We offer our congratulations to both teams on their impressive performance so far and wish them the best of luck in the final.”

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