There are collaborations between the companies, and dedicated support to help them thrive and commercials.
We are keen to develop this cluster further, finding more opportunities for companies to work together on grants, develop new products, or even just to share ideas and discuss what’s possible.
M-SParc secured SBRI Welsh Government funding for a Net Zero Farming project to create a low carbon solution for tacking weeds in agriculture, working in collaboration with two of their tenant companies.
Together with our tenants Aerialworx and 42able, we developed the Green Eagle. Watch the video to find out more!
Naturiol’s mission is to increase the use of indigenous non-food plants that grow on marginal land (land with no agricultural use), by isolating bulk performance chemicals to replace petrochemicals. Naturiol has a particular interest in the applications of saponins (plant derived chemicals); these have well established anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties.
The company focuses on single pure saponins that can be modified to enhance bioactivity, for example in the control of parasites in animals and humans. Other areas include the development of a growing strategy for plants producing large quantities of a novel fatty acid with applications in diet and in cosmetics. The company has developed a novel insecticidal soap which is now being taken to market by an international partner. Naturiol also has considerable experience in the applications of pheromones in the control of insect pests.
Diagnostig has particular expertise in the synthesis of individual components of the cell walls of mycobacteria, including a number of molecules present in BCG vaccine. These molecules are potent immune signalling agents and are being evaluated as potential adjuvants (increase the potency) in vaccines, including those for animal diseases.
They can also be used to detect antibodies in serum from animals infected with diseases caused by mycobacteria, such as Johne’s disease or bovine TB. Johne’s is a wasting disease caused by Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, and is present in many herds; it is very difficult to detect in its early stages and there is growing pressure to validate Johne’s free herds for the food chain. Diagnostig is developing rapid testing that can give a result on the farm.
Tech Tyfu is a vertical farming pilot, located at M-SParc and delivered by Menter Môn. Vertical farming involves hydroponics, which is a technique for growing crops using nutrient-rich solution, and no soil!
Tech Tyfu uses hydroponics to explore the potential for controlled environment agriculture in the fresh foods supply chain across north Wales. The project will allow farmers to make use of their agricultural buildings which could house these units, and supply high-end restaurants in north Wales. Hydroponics uses 10% of the water used in conventional agriculture.
Bimeda is a leading global manufacturer, marketer and distributor of animal health products and veterinary pharmaceuticals. Through ongoing expansion and strategic acquisition, Bimeda has established markets in more than seventy countries worldwide and has R&D, manufacturing and distribution capabilities across Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Bimeda employs almost 800 employees worldwide and has its global headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Bimeda is focused on providing a comprehensive, customer-driven service, and selling consistently high-quality products, at a market-conscious price level.
Within the UK, Bimeda focuses primarily on the categories of parasite control, nutrition, cattle production and equine health; providing high quality, cost-effective products to vets, animal health professionals and farmers around the country.
A collaboration between M-SParc and two tenants, Aerialworx and Fourtytwable, Green Eagle was born of SBRI Welsh Government funding for a Net Zero Farming project. It responds to the call for decarbonising the agriculture sector, by bringing technological innovations to the field (quite literally!) to tackle the age-old issue of pesticide spraying.
The Green Eagle is a drone that will identify weeds and tackle them one by one; getting to the root of the problem. The Green Eagle will showcase how artificial intelligence, computer vision and drone technology can accelerate both the farming industry and growth in the Welsh economy. The project will save costs, time, environmental impact, carbon emissions and improve farm safety. The work is normally undertaken by diesel tractors or manually by hand and covering acres of land, often with no need as weeds make up only a small portion of the field.
The Green Eagle is a concept project, however if the technology can be proven, then further funding will be secured to commercialise the project, enabling the team to take it to market for the benefit of national agriculture. The AI can also be adapted to recognise native weeds in other continents, leading to the Green Eagle spreading wings across the globe.
Dewin – the Welsh word for wizard – specialises in a range of products to support Agri, including dewin open:close which uses IoT to inform farmers when gates are left open. Following the M-SParc Agri-Hack, dewin was awarded funding to develop further products. Dewin Dŵr aims to help farmers predict when they can spread slurry, and can challenge the current legislation which only allows spreading during certain months. Utilising soil sensors and weather stations, Dewin Dŵr will use 7 farms to test the technology in order to create the farmer-feedback model.
Dewin Mw also developed from the Agri-Hack, introducing a collaboration between two companies in order to develop an AI product which could be trained to recognise cows and calves, and predict calving so that the farmer could be altered.
Based in Ireland, Micron Agritech were also winners of the Agri Hack and will be creating career opportunities as they develop their product in their Welsh office at M-SParc. The company is developing a pen-side kit for identification of parasites in production animals. To date, the company has validated the machine-learning based technology to work for cattle samples and has filed multiple patents on the kit that allows for samples to be collected and prepared on-site.
Research links to Bangor University are being made, in order to work with students to take the project forwards, and eventually to begin commercialisation here in Wales.
BIC’s offer is focused on progressing concepts, business planning, scope specification, procurement and project management as client agents.
With direct experience of delivering innovation capacity projects, BIC has a unique perspective to add value given their direct engagement with industry and future beneficiaries. BIC team members have worked within the healthcare and life sciences sector to senior board level. Roles have included sales and business development, R&D, operations, clinical and international responsibilities.
BIC Innovation is therefore well placed to offer business support to companies based at M-SParc and growing in the agri-tech sector, to insure their business has the best possible chance of reaching commercialisation.
Henfaes Research Centre is Bangor University’s School of Natural Sciences’ excellent field facility, located about 7 miles from Bangor and 252 hectares in size. It offers unrivalled opportunities to study diverse environments from sea-level to amongst the highest land in Snowdonia, all on one farm. It provides facilities for research and teaching in environmental science, agriculture (including arable crops and livestock grazing), forestry, hydrology, and conservation. It also has an extensive shoreline for studying coastal salt marsh processes.
Facilities at Henfaes include:
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