An agricultural university in the Cotswolds will be increasing its focus on how to increase the UK's food security thanks to a £2 million donation from a foundation.

A generous donation has been gifted to the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and will be used to provide a boost to agriculture and food security research at the educational and research facility.

Research into topics such as growing soybean as a profitable, low-carbon crop following the research investment thanks to the John Oldacre Foundation, which supports the agricultural sciences and is a long-term funder of doctoral study at the university.

The John Oldacre Foundation was formed after the death of John Oldacre, and it aims to provide financial support for research and investment in the agricultural sciences.

Two John Oldacre scholars at RAU are already supported by nearly £190,000 and are working on crop science projects that will be of long-term benefit to the UK’s food security.

Pedzisai Nemadziba, from Zimbabwe, is developing strategies for the UK to successfully grow large-scale soybean crops, which have lower reliance on fertilisers and are becoming a growing part of our diet.

Another student, Caitlin Willis, is investigating insecticide resistance in UK populations of oil seed rape pests.

Dr Nicola Cannon, principal lecturer in agronomy, who is supervising Pedzisai’s PhD said: “It is an honour that the foundation has chosen to build on its already generous support for research at the RAU.

"It means we can increase our focus on studies that offer benefits to farmers, the environment and the public by improving the carbon footprint of agriculture and reducing input costs.

Professor Joanna Price, vice-chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University said: “Investment in PhD students is critical for ensuring that we address future challenges facing agriculture and for the RAU to make an impact in areas like global food security, crop resilience and climate change.”

To find out more about the research projects being undertaken at the RAU visit