News Archive 2008 Jan-May

North Wyke Research was formally launched at an event in London on 14th May. North Wyke Research, based near Okehampton, is a BBSRC Research Institute with close links to Rothamsted Research. North Wyke was formerly part of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER), whose Aberystwyth staff are now part of Aberystwyth University. Michael Winter was a governor of IGER and is now a member of the Science Advisory Board for North Wyke. North Wyke’s director, Les Firbank, is a visiting professor with CRPR and a member of the Centre’s Advisory Group. Michael, Les and CRPR Assistant Director, Matt Lobley, are all members of the PPRE Steering Group.
May 2008
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NEW POST Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy & Climate Change
The postholder will conduct research and writing within the Centre for Rural Policy Research with particular reference to work on agriculture and rural land use policy in the context of climate change, particularly in Devon and the south west. The post arises from a grant by Devon County Council. There will also be some teaching duties in the Department of Politics.
More details
Closing date 17th October 2008
October 2008
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During Evensong at Exeter Cathedral, Professor Michael Winter OBE, Director of the Centre for Rural Policy and Research was installed as a Lay Canon.
Photograph
Canon Professor Winter’s expertise in rural affairs has long been shared in an unofficial advisory capacity with the Bishop of Exeter. He was invited to become a Lay Canon not only due to his unparalleled knowledge of rural issues particularly focusing on Devon, but also for his experience as a lay reader in rural West Devon. Since 1993, Professor Winter has been a licensed Reader, mainly exercising his ministry at St Mary’s Church in Exbourne; he is also a Methodist Preacher.
As a Lay Canon he will be officially involved in the Diocese as part of the group who oversee the general policy and strategy of the cathedral.
‘The position is a great honour’, Canon Professor Winter said, ‘On a number of occasions I have taken students around the Cathedral as part of my teaching in the geography of religion. I never thought I would have a formal position in such a wonderful place. I look forward to helping in whatever way I can in the life and work of the Cathedral and Exeter Diocese.’
Canon Professor Winter is no stranger to seeking to combine his faith with his research and seeking to conduct research that is relevant to human and environmental well being. In the ‘80s and ‘90s he acted as a consultant to two Archbishop’s Commissions; one on Rural Areas the other on Cathedrals. More recently, in 2007, he edited a special issue of the theological journal, Crucible, on rural issues.
Responding to the concerns of his local church for the welfare of farmers during the devastating effects of Foot and Mouth, he became further involved with policy networks in local and regional government for example as President of the Devon Rural Network. At a national level he has recently been re-appointed for a second term as a commissioner for the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC). The CRC seeks to advise and influence government by in areas such as health, education and local government in rural areas.
May 2008
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The Defra Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, has appointed Michael Winter to a second term of three years as a Commissioner for the Commission for Rural Communities. May 2008
The new Peninsula Partnership for the Rural Environment (PPRE) a collaborative venture between the University of Exeter, Duchy College, North Wyke Research and the University of Plymouth hosted a reception at the Plymouth Rural Futures Conference on April 1st to mark PPRE’s arrival on the regional (and national) rural research and knowledge transfer stage. Sir Harry Studholme (SW RDA Board member and chair of the CRPR Advisory Group), who has chaired the PPRE Steering Group during its formative months, spoke about the value of partnership in tackling pressing rural issues. Professor Michael Winter responded on behalf of PPRE with thanks to Sir Harry for all his hard work and his continuing commitment to PPRE.
May 2008
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We are delighted to welcome Steve Jarvis as a new Visiting Professor in the Centre. Steve was formerly head of IGER’s North Wyke research station. He will be with us for a couple of days each week in his new capacity as the editor of the European Journal of Soil Science. The editorship is a PPRE activity and signals PPRE’s commitment to scholarship and research that is relevant to the needs of the agricultural industry.
May 2008
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Michael Winter has been appointed by the Scottish Government to assist in its mid-term review of Rural and Environment Research. He will be a member of the Group reviewing Programme 3: Environment – Land Use and Rural Stewardship. The review will assess the progress being made with the Research Programmes addressing research requirements set out in the contracts between the Scottish Ministers and research providers. Michael Winter comments: “this will be a fascinating exercise. It is not an assessment of science outputs in the same way as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)1 but an examination of progress and relevance with an eye to whether research priorities need to change.”
Note 1. Michael is also a Specialist Advisor to the RAE 2008 Sub-Panel 31, Town & Country Planning and to Sub-panel 32, Geography and Environmental Studies.
May 2008
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John McInerney
John McInerney, Emeritus Professor, has been appointed as a Trustee to the Farm Animal Welfare Trust. He is also serving on a small working group, based at the University of Bristol Veterinary School, to review the appropriate path and content of veterinary education and research over the next 20 years.
In addition, he has been appointed a member of Defra's ESSPAG (Economics and Social Sciences Programme Advisory Group) on research into bovine TB.
April 2008
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RELU (Rural Economies & Land Use) project
As the Centre's RELU project on pathogenic micro-organisms and livestock farming draws to a close Rob Fish and Allan Butler will be meeting farmers on 24th April at IGER North Wyke to discuss the costs associated with mitigating these risks to watercourses. The project is co-led between CRPR, Lancaster University and IGER.
More details
April 2008

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“Is Devon's Farming Fit for Purpose in an era of Climate Change"

In an era of climate change, the question of whether Devon’s agriculture is fit for purpose was considered by a group of experts in a jury style scenario created by the Centre for Rural Policy and Research.
More details on University News Web page
March 2008
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CRPR's Continuing Work in Farm Animal Health and Welfare
The CRPR has a long established reputation, started by its former director, Professor John McInerney, for innovative work and policy engagement in issues of animal health and welfare.
So we are delighted to report that Keith Howe has been made a Life Member of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. This was conferred at the Society’s AGM during its conference in Liverpool. The citation from the President includes the following:
"This nomination has been unanimously approved by the Committee in recognition of your many years of loyal and very active service on behalf of SVEPM dating right back to its formation in the early 1980s. Your continued activity and enthusiasm both for the Society and for the discipline of animal health economics are an inspiration to many in SVEPM and the wider veterinary profession."
Of the 14 Life Members to date, Keith is the first to be honoured in this way who is not a veterinary scientist. Keith's important contribution has been to bring econmic thinking to bear on veterinary issues.

Congratulations Keith!
And many congratulations too to CRPR associate, and former co-director of the Centre, Professor Henry Buller, who has been appointed a member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council, a well deserved recognition of Henry's insightful work animals in a human geography context and his work on the influences of agricultural policy on farm animal welfare.
March 2008
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CRPR staff at ROOTS 2008
The tenth annual Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors rural research conference (ROOTS) takes place on Monday 17 - Tuesday 18 March 2008 at Trinity College, Oxford. CRPR research student, Georgina Crossman, and Allan Butler,CRPR Research Fellow are both presenting papers.
Georgina is presenting a joint paper with Rita Walsh from the Royal Agricultural College on The role of the horse industry in farm diversification. Allan's paper is entitled Expanding anaerobic digestion plants in the UK: the challenges of perception and planning.
Michael Winter is presenting the opening keynote on the Tuesday. His paper, Shifting ground: perspectives on land tenure and the new land debate draws on his recent research for the RICS on land tenure and his own long standing interests in policy debates over land use.
February 2008
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Les Firbank - Visiting Professor
We are delighted to announce that Dr Les Firbank has been appointed a Visiting Professor in the Centre. Les Firbank directs the North Wyke research station of the BBSRC Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research and is an internationally recognised ecologist and land use expert. He is already a member of the Centre's advisory board. CRPR's Director, Professor Michael Winter, says "the appointment of Les reinforces our long-standing and very close relationship with IGER and is a symbol of our deep commitment to inter-disciplinary research. I am thrilled that Les has agreed to accept this position and look forward to working with him in the years to come."
January 2008
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Jurors Stack up the risks of livestock pollution
Members of the Devon public took part in a CRPR co-ordinated "citizens' jury" in mid-November to examine the issue of microbial watercourse pollution and what more might be done to mitigate the impact of livestock farming. The two-day process, which was part of The Sustainable and Safe Recycling of Livestock Waste project, involved a staggered programme of debate, presentation and field walking, in which expert witnesses were cross-examined by the jury regarding the practical, ethical and financial dimensions of microbial risk management. Among the testimonies heard was evidence from Defra's Water Quality Division, the Health Protection Agency, shell fisheries, South West Water, the National Farmers' Union and the Environment Agency. The jury concluded that measures should concentrate on the provision of advice and training, linked to financial assistance for low cost solutions in step with existing patterns of farming. The full verdict will be published shortly and is available from the jury facilitator, email R.D.Fish@exeter.ac.uk
January 2008
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South West Futures: economic prosperity, housing and climate change
Michael Winter is speaking at the SW Regional Observatory annual conference on Friday 29 February at the Thistle Hotel in Exeter.
This conference gives delegates an opportunity to hear the viewpoints of regional deliverers and commentators on the major issues affecting the South West over the next few years and to participate in discussion with them.
Michael is sharing a session on Economic Prosperity with Jane Henderson Chief Executive of the SW Regional Development Agency and Jon Bright Regional Director Government Office for the SW.
PowerPoint presentation

Allan Butler will be giving a seminar on "Social network analysis in rural research" at the CCRI (Countryside & Community Research Institute), University of Gloucester on 28th February 2008 at 12.30 pm.
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Sustainability Seminar Series
The Winter Sustainability Seminar series begins on January 28th. Click here for full details
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