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SmartHort Automation Challenge

Would you like leading automation experts to help find a solution to a challenge in your business?

The SmartHort Automation Challenge will match WMG, engineering experts at the University of Warwick, with a UK business to develop an applied solution to a real problem in horticultural production.

Do you have an area of your production you’d like to improve? Could introducing new technology to a part of your business help improve efficiencies? We are offering you the chance to have WMG work collaboratively with your business to deliver an applied solution over a two-year project. All you need to do is tell us about the problem you would like WMG to look into finding a solution.

Why apply?

  • Delivery of a practical applied solution in at least prototype form
  • Collaborative approach to find a real solution for your business
  • Direct access to knowledge from experts used to working on applied solutions for clients across automotive, aerospace and manufacturing

The project will address a step in your current production system.

Typical solutions could involve implementing special purpose machinery, the integration of robots, autonomous indoor vehicles and vision systems.

A new automated harvester or new state of the art growing system is out of the scope of this project.

Apply now

Who should apply?

The competition is open to all growers, regardless of size of business. We are just looking for a great idea that will ideally also support the wider horticultural industry.

We require the winning business to help share the project’s progress with the wider industry.

The project will be awarded on a competitive basis, based on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility of the project to be delivered within two years
  • Novelty of the potential technology
  • Value of the of the solution to wider industry
  • Ability for you to input time, resource, trial areas
  • Willingness to share progress with wider industry

Masters or undergraduate students at WMG may also work on some of the shortlisted projects.

You must be a current levy payer who complies with current best practise for health, safety and environmental standards.

How to apply

Simply fill in this short form to submit your entry. Please include photos or videos to help describe your entry if possible.

Apply now

Closing deadlines:

  • Applications close 29 March 2019
  • Shortlisted projects will be notified by 5 April 2019
  • Site visit for final assessment will be on 9 or 10 April 2019

The Automation Systems group at WMG specialise in custom automation solutions, currently predominantly in the manufacturing sector. Typical solutions in this context could involve implementing special purpose machinery, the integration of robots, autonomous indoor vehicles and vision systems.

The project is being jointly funded by AHDB Horticulture and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, with in-kind contributions from WMG.

The SmartHort Automation Challenge is part of the AHDB SmartHort campaign, helping growers to improve labour efficiencies.

If you want to find out more about the challenge, please contact