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NFU Mutual launches national award for postgraduate agricultural students

NFU Mutual has launched its 2024 Centenary Award – with this year’s scheme now open for applications.

The rural insurer’s annual award scheme provides bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected students who are undertaking a postgraduate course in agriculture (master’s or PhD) within the UK.  

The Centenary Award was created by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust in 2010 to celebrate NFU Mutual’s 100th anniversary, with the objective of creating a legacy for the future. To date, 52 agricultural students have received bursaries to help further their studies.

The 2024 award is open to individuals who have gained, or are expected to gain, a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a related degree, and have been accepted or provisionally accepted on a master’s or PhD course in agriculture in the UK, during the 2024/2025 academic year.

The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust has also identified four areas of interest for eligible students. At least one of these areas must form part of the applicant’s postgraduate course:

  • The application of science and innovative technologies to enhance productivity, efficiency, and profitability for UK farming businesses
  • Building resilience and safeguarding the physical and mental wellbeing of those living and working in the UK agricultural industry
  • Tackling the risks of climate change, whilst maintaining food security, to improve the sustainability of UK agriculture
  • Identifying opportunities for supporting nature and biodiversity in the development of farming and land management practices in the UK.

To select the award recipients, the judging panel will be looking for applicants who are not only excellent academic performers, but also have a real passion for UK agriculture and demonstrate potential to become a future industry leader.

Three promising postgraduate agricultural students from across the UK were selected to receive a ‘Centenary Award’ bursary from The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust in 2023:

  • Megan Phillips: MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production, Aberystwyth University
  • Peter Reis: MSc Ruminant Nutrition, Harper Adams University
  • Ludo de Falbe: MPhil Crop Sciences, University of Cambridge

Megan is a Graduate Trainee at Dunbia and is undertaking her master’s course to support her career aspirations. Megan explained more: “I’ve always been interested in animal genetics and red meat production to help farmers across the UK. The teaching of this master’s degree is allowing me to see the financial and physical positives of experimental ideas which brings both farmers’ opinions and business knowledge into the equation.”

Peter, who works full time as a Ruminant Nutritionist at Mole Valley Feed Solutions, is undertaking his master’s to help bring new and novel techniques to the farmers he serves. Peter explained more: “I have a real passion to learn about and pioneer new feeding techniques to increase the efficiency of dairy, beef and sheep farms in the region, whilst also decreasing the carbon footprint of the industry. My goal is to become a leader in nutrition within Cornwall and Devon, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to enhance my knowledge.”

Ludo, who is also passionate about UK agriculture and the environment, is undertaking his master’s to explore techniques to develop resilience of crops to climate change. Ludo explained: “My studies include an investigation into gas exchange plants, and how the air spaces in leaves develop, with a view to improving water-use efficiency.”

Talking about the scheme, Jim McLaren MBE, NFU Mutual Chairman, said: “NFU Mutual is committed to creating a positive and sustainable difference for those living and working in rural communities. Our Centenary Award supports passionate individuals to further their personal contribution to UK agriculture, whilst also championing research and innovation for the industry.”

The application closing date for the 2024 award is midnight 30th June. Information about the scheme, along with an application form, can be found on by searching ‘Centenary Award’, or by contacting the award’s email address:

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