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  • University of Cambridge

Improving Food Production with Agricultural Technology and Plant Biotechnology

Build your knowledge of food production challenges and technology with this online course for post-16 students of biology.

12,806 enrolled on this course

Plants growing in a commercial greenhouse

Improving Food Production with Agricultural Technology and Plant Biotechnology

12,806 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Learn how to address challenges in growing, harvesting, and processing food

Are you inspired to join the next generation of scientists and tackle challenges in food security? On this course, you will get access to innovative research solutions that address some of the biggest issues in food, agriculture, and plant biotechnology.

You will become more familiar with the journey plants take, from crops in the field to food on your plate. You will explore the importance of scientific research in food security and discover the new technologies that are transforming agriculture.

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  • Week 1

    Plant Biotechnology

    • Introduction

      Find out more about what you'll be learning over the next three weeks.

    • What is plant biotechnology?

      Learn about the different methods of plant biotechnology and how they can help with pathogen control.

    • Alternatives to plant biotechnology

      Discover alternative ways to protect crops from pests and diseases, such as biological control.

    • What future solutions could plant biotechnology offer us?

      Explore innovative research in plant biotechnology and suggest your own ideas for future solutions.

    • Week 1 summary

      Test your knowledge and summarise what you've learnt this week.

  • Week 2

    Agricultural Technology

    • Introduction

      Find out what you'll be learning about agricultural technology this week.

    • What is agricultural technology?

      Discover the history of agricultural and see examples of machines being used today.

    • Agricultural technology today

      Learn about the challenges today's farmers face and how technology is helping them.

    • What future solutions could agricultural technology offer us?

      Discover leading research in agricultural technology, such as field robots, and how new ideas become reality.

    • Week 2 summary

      Test your knowledge and summarise what you've learnt this week.

  • Week 3

    Applied Food Science

    • Introduction

      Find out what you'll be learning in the final week of the course.

    • Harvesting

      Learn what happens to crops after the harvest and what challenges food processors face.

    • What is food science?

      Learn how food science is helping us to turn food industry by-products into useful new products, reducing food waste.

    • What future solutions could food science offer us?

      Discover innovative research in food science, and how new ideas are turned into real products.

    • Week 3 summary

      Test your knowledge and summarise what you've learnt this week.

    • Wrapping up

      What have you learnt over the past 3 weeks, and what are you going to do next?

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the different methods of plant biotechnology
  • Explore the challenges involved in growing, harvesting and processing plant-based food
  • Describe the history of agricultural technology and examine what future solutions agricultural technology could offer us.
  • Assess the role of scientific research in addressing challenges in food security
  • Debate the opportunities and limitations of new technologies
  • Assess consumer trust in the science and technology involved in bringing food from the field to the supermarket

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for 16-19 year olds studying biology related STEM subjects at A level or undergraduate level. It will also appeal to adults interested in the technology behind food production.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on this topic, you might also find of interest the following EIT Food courses on sustainable food production and farming systems:

Who will you learn with?

I am Group Leader at the John Innes Centre (UK). My lab uses genetics and genomics to improve yield and quality components in wheat.

I am Manager Technology Innovation Strategy at the John Deere European Technology Innovation Center in Germany. My research focus is on precision agriculture and sustainable food production

I am Associate Professor in Food Science and Technology at UAM (Spain). I develop my research activity at CIAL Institute in Biocatalysis, Green Processes, Bioactive Lipids, Food Chemistry, etc.

Project Manager for Gatsby Plant Science Education Programme, based at the Sainsbury Laboratory University of Cambridge

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge contributes to society through the pursuit of excellent education, learning, and research.

Endorsers and supporters

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

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Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 8 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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