StudyLink logoHome
Students on a university campus

Hartpury University’s PhD students excel in the Agriculture industry – alumnus Sito-Obong Udofia to inform better landscape management

Hartpury University

Birds eye image of green fields with Hartpury University campus buildings

At Hartpury, agriculture students immerse themselves in their discipline, whilst advancing research or real-world practice. They work with people to create behaviour change, applying agri-tech data to increase yield and welfare, and translating scientific research and business theory into real solutions that address industry challenges.

Hartpury looks for students who have the passion and drive to make a difference to our planet, people and animals, and Hartpury University PhD student Sito-Obong Udofia from Nigeria, has demonstrated just that!

Sito-Obong is hoping that her doctoral thesis into the effects of shade and shelter on Hartpury farmland could inform more productive and sustainable landscape management decisions across the agricultural industry. 

Equipped with an intrinsic understanding of the land, farmers can make more productive and sustainable decisions, taking into account issues such as biodiversity and climate change.

The research will quantify the effects of different types of natural shade and shelter at Hartpury’s Home Farm including trees, shrubs, hedgerows, cover crops and grasses. Through a range of methods, including satellite and drone technology as well as utilising smart soil and plant sensors, the study will seek to provide a greater understanding of environmental factors in the location and determine the effects of existing vegetative cover. 

Data-driven suggestions can then be made regarding future planting activity, potentially leading to more sustainable productivity levels, and even improving plant resilience to the effects of climate change.

Sito explains: “Through tree and hedge planting, land managers have an opportunity to exploit a simple and affordable way to future-proof landscapes against shifts in weather and climate, such as increased precipitation, and by doing so lessen the environmental impacts of tomorrow whilst profiting from economic gains today. However, understanding what is currently working well on a piece of farmland will help to make targeted and informed decisions.”

Sito has a three-year sponsorship for her PhD from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETF) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in association with the University of Uyo (Nigeria). She is being supervised and supported throughout the project by Professor Matt Bell, Hartpury’s Director of Agriculture.

Sito adds: “The guidance and input of Professor Bell, who is an agricultural and environmental research expert, has been a huge support. He has helped to guide my research to a practicable direction where we anticipate useful outcomes to deploy for improved farming practices, landscape design and plant resilience to climate effects in Hartpury and for global adaptation.”

Sito hopes her background in teaching and research in plant science, combined with her ongoing experience engaged with active projects like this one, will prepare her for a career as a specialist in agri-environmental management. To date, her research interests have a key focus on improving landscape practices and environmental conservation in a changing climate.     

Sustainable land management using technology is a priority area for research at Hartpury. Other research projects are investigating soil carbon measurements and developing real-time sensors for monitoring soil properties on farms.

Image of a student wearing a grey fleece and grey hat, smiling at the camera
Sito-Obong Udofia

Hartpury University is a top 20 UK university for postgraduate teaching, engagement, assessment, organisation and support (PTES, 2023) and staff and students across various departments are frequently engaged in research projects. Students such as Sito-Obong are encouraged to utilise facilities like Home Farm and the Agri-Tech Centre for their projects or to engage with one of the 11 commercial businesses on site.

In July 2023, Hartpury University staff, students, and guests celebrated the end of a busy academic year at the annual Hartpury Research Conference: Making a Difference. Students and staff presented an outstanding selection of research from Hartpury’s varied range of subject areas. PhD students were challenged to communicate their project within three minutes, an exercise designed to encourage them to share knowledge concisely with a wider audience.

Research carried out by Hartpury University, submitted as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 process, was recognised as ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’, placing Hartpury amongst a prestigious group of well-established institutions. The REF is a UK-wide assessment of the quality of research in universities undertaken by expert review panels and is undertaken on behalf of the Government by the funding councils for higher education.

If you are looking to study Agriculture at undergraduate or postgraduate level, take advantage of the Agriculture Bursary on offer to international students this year. 

Hartpury University is offering qualifying international students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught Agriculture programmes £2,000 off each year of study for September 2024 entry. This is an automatic tuition fee waiver applied to international fee-paying students. 

Agriculture degrees range from BSc Agriculture, with Crop Production and Livestock Production streams, the MSc Sustainable Agriculture, and MRes Animal Science course. Take advantage of Hartpury’s outstanding onsite facilities, including its award-winning farm, and immerse yourself in a subject you’re passionate about, while making a real difference to the world.

Explore Undergraduate Agriculture degrees.

Explore Postgraduate Agriculture degrees.

Learn more about Hartpury University

Related topics

Search for courses now

International study advice

Read our key advice article to help you make the best decision for your education and start your International study adventure.

Person holding a compass
How to choose the ideal study destination for you

In this article we look at how to approach choosing where in the world you would like to study.

World map on a blackboard
Deciding to study abroad: The first steps

Read StudyLink's suggestions on your first steps when deciding where to study abroad, with helpful tips to make your decision easier.

Students reading a book
English Language Testing for International Students

Find out more about English language tests, your options and what is required as an overseas student.

Lady holding bank notes
How much does it really cost to study abroad in 2024? take a detailed look into the costs of studying abroad and all the aspects that you should budget for when embarking on your studies.

A visa document
10 Common Student Visa Question

We answer 10 common questions about applying for a student visa to help make your visa application quick and easy.

A visa document and a world map
International Study Visas

Find out more about international student visas for studying abroad, as well as how, where and when to apply for yours.

A piggy bank with coins
Funding and Scholarships for International Students

Find out more about funding and scholarships for international students, and what financial assistance might be available to you.

Person selecting a book from a shelf
How to choose the right course for you

How to choose a course that fits you? Check our top tips on choosing which course is best for you to help you make an informed decision.

See more international study advice

Sign up to

Sign up to, the home of quality study abroad advice.

Sign up now
Students with books and test tubes
Search for courses