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UEA has firmly established itself in the top 20 of UK universities and reached its highest ever placing of 14th in the Complete University Guide 2016.
Established in 1963, the University of East Anglia (UEA) comprises four Faculties (Science, Medicine & Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts & Humanities) and 19 Schools of study. It currently has around 15,000 students, of which around 4,000 are postgraduate students. The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), published on 18 December 2014, showed that over 82% of UEA’s research activity was deemed to be world-leading or internationally excellent. Overall, UEA was ranked 10th in the UK for the quality of its research output and 21st overall amongst all mainstream British institutions.Dr Lynn Dicks has collaborated with Waitrose since 2013. She moved to the UEA School of Biological Sciences from the University of Cambridge in October 2016. She is setting up a research group working on agriculture and biodiversity, with a focus on pollinator conservation and management.
Informing farm management with evidence: a collaborative project with Waitrose
In 2014, Dr Lynn Dicks and Caitlin McCormack, then at Cambridge University, worked with Waitrose to incorporate scientific evidence from the Conservation Evidence database into the land management decisions of Waitrose suppliers and growers. A group of growers, land managers, ecologists and conservationists assessed the evidence for the effects of selected farm management practices on natural pest control.The results of this assessment are published in a scientific paper, which is freely available here. The paper includes an ‘Agronomists’ Guide’ to the evidence as an Appendix.
How to enhance natural pest control
The following practices were assessed as ‘beneficial’ or ‘likely to be beneficial’ for controlling pests. Each is linked to an online summary of relevant evidence.
- Combine trap and repellent crops in a push–pull system
- Grow non-crop plants that produce chemicals that attract natural enemies
- Use chemicals to attract natural enemies
- Exclude ants that protect pests (on fruit trees)
- Grow plants that compete with damaging weeds
How to improve soil health
A parallel exercise assessed evidence for the effects of farm management actions on soil health. This is published in a scientific paper here. The following practices were assessed as ‘beneficial’ or ‘likely to be beneficial’ for soils.
- Amend the soil using integrated nutrient management
- Grow cover crops
- Use crop rotation
- Grow cover crops beneath the main crop (living mulches) or between crop rows
- Amend the soil with formulated chemical compounds
- Control traffic and traffic timing
- Reduce grazing intensity
A spin-off project, funded by The Nature Conservancy, California, is currently summarising and assessing evidence for the effects of farm management actions in Mediterranean farming systems (including olive groves, vineyards and many fruits and nuts). Effects on soil health, water, pollination, pest regulation and biodiversity are included. Results are expected by June 2017.
Dr Lynn Dicks
Dr Lynn Dicks moved from the University of Cambridge to the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 2016. Below are some videos of Lynn talking about her work and its importance.
Lynn praises the new collaborative approaches occurring between the fresh produce supply chain and researchers. Lynn goes on to discuss Ecosystem services and the importance of insect pollination.
This is a video made by the University of Cambridge about Dr Dicks’ work developing the evidence behind the Farm Wildlife and Wild Pollinator Package in the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
This 25-minute video is of Dr Dicks talking about the different ways to link scientific knowledge into policy and practice.
This Defra video, produced for the National Pollinator Strategy, explains why pollinators are important.