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Abertay Uni Partnership to use AI Tech to Help Grow Potato Crops

David Paul



The innovative tech will be used as part of a ‘ground-breaking’ project involving the University and potato seed firm Agrico UK Ltd.

Abertay University is hoping that its new project using artificial intelligence (AI) technology could be the key to speed up the process of growing potatoes.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University and UK-based potato seed supplier Agrico UK  will use the AI tech to help with potato growth, making it more manageable in a shorter time-frame.

The future plan for the £118,000 project, funded by Innovate UK and the Scottish Funding Council, is to carry out screening techniques that will help select potatoes with clear consumer appeal and qualities that make them easy to grow.

It currently takes more than ten years to develop new breeds of potato, and things such as disease resistance, tolerance to heat, drought and taste are factors that must be taken into consideration when growing.

Commenting on the KTP, Dr Steven Muir from Agrico UK Ltd said: “This project is quite unique and uses new techniques to allow us to better predict successful varieties of potato for consumers. We have been involved in successful KTPs in the past and have found them to be extremely beneficial.”

Agrico UK Executive Director Archie Gibson said: “Integrating data science in combination with sensory and consumer science is an important part of our vision, and is key to our ambitions for the future.”


The University has worked with a wide range of industrial partners during KTPs and outperforms many larger Universities in an area key to the UK Government’s industrial strategy.

Abertay has strong links with the food and drink industry, and the expertise of its academic staff is highly sought after by industry, professionals, and the academic community.

Dr John Grigor, from Abertay’s Division of Engineering and Food Science, commented: “This project is scheduled to last for 30-months, and we are delighted to be working with Agrico UK Ltd on something that has the potential to make a real difference.”

The project is one of several covering a range of different sectors to come out of Scottish Universities in the past few months.

A team from Heriot-Watt University announced (13th November) ‘game-changing’ new medical tech, known as Optimal Software, designed to identify moments when trainees are unsure of a procedure giving teachers immediate feedback.

The eye-tracking device will help to speed up training time for doctors and enhance patient care.

Last month (6th October) a tech spinout from Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing announced new techniques to tackle the multi-billion-pound ransomware threat called Memcrypt

Using techniques developed at Edinburgh Napier University, the technology detects signs that ransomware encryption software is running in a system.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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