I was drawn into the heroic role of feeding the world as a teenager (haha!) and chose to study biotechnology. Admittedly, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do so I contemplated a lot between teaching, managerial positions or academia. I ultimately knew that academia wasn’t for me and it is mainly opportunities that have dictated the way forward for me. I’m really grateful for the support from my family and also Professor Erik Murchie – at the point when I was choosing to apply for a Doctorate Extension Scheme visa and going back to Brunei on a government-chartered flight due to COVID (just a few hours to make a decision!), he assured me that my skills will lead me to what I wanted, regardless of extending my visa or not. So I ended up going back to Brunei before COVID peaked during Easter in the UK. It was a few hours’ notice to pack up five years of my life. And now here I am, in charge of a lab using ground-breaking technology to shake up the food system.
“More interaction with growers is needed”
I’m still young in this industry and still new to everything, but I’d like to see more honest, open interactions with growers; for them to be inclusive, aware and have the technologies more accessible to them. It’s not just about big agri companies, but also small farms and hobbyists too. I’d like to see open days for universities and maybe business networking events to help spread awareness and create rapport. I think it is good to always have healthy ongoing conversations so we as a business know what needs improvement or to understand whether there are things that we can do to try to resolve certain ongoing issues. Likewise, more face-to-face meetups give an opportunity for more growers to be made aware of what businesses like ours offer.
“I want to help feed the world”
It may sound rather clichéd, but I’m driven by one overarching objective in my role, and that is to feed the world! But doing it in an affordable and sustainable manner.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of my job is trying to put the commercial hat on when doing lab work. In academia, we’re trained to do research well but never think much about profiting from the research. During my PhD, I didn’t really have to worry about funding, but in a company, I have to consider whether it is commercially viable rather than solely interest based.
“Anything is possible in this industry”
in this industry The one important piece of advice I’d say to anyone wanting to follow a similar career path in this field is, proceed with passion. This of course applies to any job, but it fuels your motivation and drive, and in this industry where there is so much untapped potential, it puts you in a position of believing that anything is possible. Who knows what technology or solution you might uncover for the greater good?
We’re a small but strong company. I’m just very grateful to find myself in a place that allows me to grow together with the rest of the team where they can provide me with support along the way, as one of the youngest here. The company isn’t very hierarchical, they give a helping hand whenever possible and everyone makes sure each person gets heard. I’m extremely optimistic about our business and I think we’re out to make great changes and help expand our industry. I feel the future for AgTech is a bright one.