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CENSIS and JHI announce Centre for Smart Natural Capital

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8 June 2023

This story was also covered by Insider on 8 June 2023.

A first of its kind innovation and technology proving ground for climate solutions for the world’s farmers and land managers has been launched at a remote Scottish hill farm.

The Climate Innovation Hub at Glensaugh in Aberdeenshire by independent research organisation The James Hutton Institute to plug a critical gap in access to real-world farming and land management sites to prove and reduce the risk of new climate friendly technologies and ideas.

In partnership with CENSIS, the hub will also be home to another cutting-edge new initiative, the Centre for Smart Natural Capital. This will provide a unique platform for the development of smart sensing, monitoring and advanced computing and analytics needed to inform the growing field of natural capital.

Through the hub, technology developers will have access to the institute’s 1,000 ha research farm, including offices, conference facilities and laboratories, to help them develop and test novel concepts and tools, from new smart sensors to recycling farm waste. The hub is funded by the Macaulay Development Trust, a charity which supports research into sustainable use of land and natural resources.

Antonia Boyce, Climate Innovation Hub Manager, says, “Reducing emissions in the farming and wider land management sector is a real challenge across Scotland, where agriculture is responsible for about 19% of our emissions and it’s essential that we enable innovation to tackle the problem. But it’s not easy for innovators to test their ideas or collaborate with others working in the same space, so we’re inviting companies or individuals with great ideas they want to test out to get in touch.

“With the Centre for Smart Natural Capital also being hosted here, it will possibly also be the smartest hill farm in the UK. We aim to deploy a growing variety of both mainstream and emerging intelligent wireless communications technologies to support farm and estate-wide remote sensor deployments.”

CENSIS’ CEO Paul Winstanley added, “We are delighted to be working with the James Hutton Institute and the Macaulay Development Trust to support the Centre for Smart Natural Capital in this world class partnership. The natural environment, both wild and managed, has many unmet needs in terms of sensing and data frameworks, and we have in Scotland a serious ecosystem of innovators and developers focused on creating the next generation of sensing and IoT technologies. We hope to help nurture some great collaborations.”

Parties interested in the work of the Centre for Smart Natural Capital are invited to contact CENSIS’s Business Development Manager for environmental and agriculture activities, Dr Rachael Wakefield –