I come from Greece and I enrolled in the Biosystems Engineering master programme in 2016. I am currently doing my thesis at the Farm Technology Group of WUR. My previous studies were not related to life sciences, since I already have a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. But I selected this programme because of the myriad of engineering applications in the agriculture sector and the degree of flexibility, regarding the courses and the scientific research in WUR.
The increased need for more sustainable and efficient agricultural practices and the interest of companies for agricultural engineers with a strong background in precision farming and livestock technologies made me select a thesis in this group. On top of this, Farm Technology Group offers a wide range of thesis topics but the student is always free to broaden the research by collaborating with other research departments or companies. Greenhouse related projects, research on livestock technologies, bio-based modelling, arable farming innovations and robotics are some of the topics that a student can explore and gain valuable knowledge.
My thesis project is in collaboration with the Geo-information Science (GIS) department and focuses on the weed detection in sugar beet fields. The objective of my thesis is to develop an algorithm in order to process drone images and distinguish sugar beet plants from weeds. Thus, we can offer a very efficient decision support tool to the farmer in order to monitor his crop status and reduce the amount of herbicides used.
As the agriculture sector is moving towards a direction that demands high automation and digitalisation, autonomous vehicles, increased productivity with the given resources through environmentally sustainable practices, the Farm Technology Group provides all the necessary academic and practical knowledge. The necessary prerequisite courses should be done in the first year, but there is still room to opt for plenty of additional courses, that can get you in the direction of research that fits your interests. The academic staff and the students are always willing to help and answer your questions and set you in the right direction.