Students at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia are to be part of a new Centre of Excellence at the forefront of agri-robotics.

The world’s first Centre for Doctoral Training for agri-food robotics (CDT) is being established by the University of Lincoln, in collaboration with the UEA and the University of Cambridge.

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The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has awarded £6.6m for the new Centre.

Up to 50 PhD students will receive training and funding in the new centre to work with agriculture industry to establish how robots could solve problems and make the sector more efficient.

Students at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia will be at the forefront of agri-robotics Credit: ITV Anglia

''What our students love is a real world problem. They really like going to companies and saying 'What are the problems we can solve that will make your life much easier?' It results in better impact. So it means that things faster to market and we're solving real needs.''

Helen Francis, Cambridge Department of Engineering
Monitoring crops and harvesting could all benefit from new robotics. Credit: ITV Anglia

The agriculture sector is incredibly vast and faces many challenges, including population growth, climate change and other environmental concerns.

Farmers hope the introduction of more robotics into the industry will help increase productivity while keeping farms cost-effective.

''We've got to feed a lot more people. There's a lot more focus on the environment and how we care for that. So, if we can develop robotics that can help farmers do that cost-effectively, while delivering on those increasing productivity and caring for the environment aims, that really is what we're aiming to achieve.''

Rachel Carrington, National Farmers' Union