There was a real buzz around the room when the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester launched their £100 million Innovation Village plan.

I had not seen that sort of energy in a business audience for quite some time.

At the heart of the idea is a plan for a sustainable, carbon neutral village on a 20 acre site at the RAU’s Cirencester campus.

It will be home to a community of entrepreneurs, policy makers, practitioners and researchers committed to addressing some of the major global challenges we face.

Typical of these challenges is the sustainability of our food supply.

Before the war in Ukraine started did we really know that the country produced something like a third of the world’s grain? I certainly didn’t.

The RAU’s vision for the Innovation Village aims to support industry, food producers, farmers and landowners in developing sustainable solutions for health land and nature, food production and resilience in our rural communities.

This is all about agricultural technology, or agritech as it’s called.

This is the application of technology to produce more with less, to make the farming process more efficient from field monitoring to the supply chain itself.

And as my colleague Ruth Dooley, chair of GFirstLEP said agriculture provides around 50 000 jobs in Gloucestershire and we have the largest number of SMEs in the UK in this important sector.

What I like about the project is that it will be totally integrated into the university-not a separate operation.

This will help the RAU become far closer to business than it has been in the past.

I like the feel of the RAU’s new, can do management team led by the relatively new Vice Chancellor, Peter McCaffery and his formidable chair of governors, Dame Fiona Reynolds.

Still, as Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown pointed out £100 million is a lot of money for the project. And it will need a lot of work to tempt investors here in the UK and globally. But I have no doubt the vision is spot on and will help herald a transformation of the oldest agricultural university in the world.