Cranfield University, Harper Adams University (HAU) and Scotland’s Rural College are the three land-based universities out of 21 higher and further education bodies to receive the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. The Prizes, part of the UK honours system, are awarded every two years to a whole institution.

Cranfield received the award for its research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide. It is the first time that an award has been given for soil science.

 “We are honoured to be winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the fifth time,” says Sir Peter Gregson, chief executive and vice-chancellor of Cranfield. “Soil science is an integral part of the University’s past, present and future. Information held at Cranfield continues to influence land management policy nationally and internationally. This award is a well-deserved acknowledgement of the work of current and former academic, technical and support staff.”

Harper is recognised for its innovation in agricultural engineering – developing technologies and associated alternative farming methods to help deliver global food security. The range of work for which the University is being honoured includes research into and development of controlled traffic farming (CTF) systems; support for the implementation of unmanned aerial systems and the world-first “Hand-Free Hectare” trial that proved crops can be grown autonomously from seeding to harvest. 

“It is a huge honour to be recognised with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education,” says HAU vice-chancellor Dr David Llewellyn. “It is a tremendous achievement by our staff and students and reflects the leading role we have taken in the development of agri-technologies in recent years.”

Harper last won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2005 for developing women-owned businesses to support the rural economy. 

The SRUC Prize is for its large-scale breeding research work on dairy cattle to produce improved milk yield and environmental benefits.