Riding the Slime Wave

Jenna grew up on the family mixed farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and comes from fourth generation farmers on her mother and my side. Growing up on the farm, she saw first-hand the impact that agricultural pests can have on crops, both from a financial and an emotional level. This drove her passion to pursue a career in slug control.

Jenna completed a PhD from the University of Aberdeen back in 2009, which focused on improving the production efficiency of BASF's (formally Becker Underwood) Nemaslug product, as well as developing new international retail markets.

On completion of her PhD, she worked as a project manager for BASF as part of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, and then went on to work with Bioforsk in Norway, looking at the impact of the Spanish slug. She also spent a year's secondment at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Tanzania, playing a key role in educating local farmers on the safe and effective use of chemical pesticides. She then went on to establish her own research group, linking innovation and industry, to find a bi-solution to slug pests.

Jenna recently completed a distance learning MBA at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, where she developed a business plan to spin-out her bio-molluscicide research. This business concept involves a new nematode species that offers superior control of slug pests. It is a natural product, that is free of chemical pesticides, so has no negative effect on the environment, non-target organisms, pets and humans.

As a result of her academic achievements at Robert Gordon University, she won the Head of Business School Award after ranking in the top 10 highest achieving MBA graduates since the course began over 20 years ago. As a result of this she was chosen as LANTRA's Learner of the Year in early 2018, and won the prestigious CARAS award from the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland. Jenna is truly passionate about what she does, and as a result of her hard work and determination, was selected as the 2018 Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland and Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board Cereals and Oilseeds Nuffield Farming Scholar. As part of her Nuffield scholarship, she will be travelling the globe to review all the different methods of controlling slugs, and looking at whether her business concept fits into the bigger picture.

Jenna is a champion of knowledge transfer in agriculture, both at a national, and international level. She is the author of 20 articles and book chapters on molluscs, and the biocontrol potential of nematode parasites. She has also written a science column for the local paper, as well as for periodicals, such as the Scottish Farmer. She has presented her findings at various conferences, from the US to Africa. Jenna also works closely with local schools to promote science and agriculture. She is determined to see more young people entering the profession, especially women. Jenna believes that agriculture is for everyone, no matter your gender, background or ethnicity. She is also a firm believer in life long education, and is always looking at ways to enhance her own skills, from science to MBA's.

Jenna has not only developed a greener more natural way of controlling slugs, she is eager to see how this fits into the bigger picture using her Nuffield Scholarship. Not only is she a pioneer in her field, she is a believer in life long education, and transferring agricultural knowledge.