Shropshire Star

Tributes paid to 'inspirational' former Harper Adams professor who has died

Tributes have been paid to a former Harper Adams University professor who has died.

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Professor Simon Blackmore

Professor Simon Blackmore was the first Harper Adams Professor of Agricultural Engineering when appointed in 2011.

When Harper Adams launched the National Centre for Precision Farming a year later, with a mission to facilitate the knowledge exchange required to bring “smart” agricultural machinery into wider and more productive use in UK, and global, farming, Professor Blackmore was the inaugural Director.

He toured China and Malaysia, showcasing the future of farming before, in 2016, Professor Blackmore handed the reins of the Engineering Department to its new Head, Parmjit Chima.

However, continued with Harper Adams as Head of Robotics and Automation for the then Agri EPI-Centre and maintaining his role as Director of the National Centre for Precision Farming.

In 2018, alongside former Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn, Professor Blackmore was presented with a 2017 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, from the now King Charles III, at Buckingham Palace. Professor Blackmore retired in 2019, becoming an emeritus professor.

Professor Peter Mills, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams, said: “Simon was truly an inspirational platform speaker, probably the best of his generation, and was passionate about how precision farming could transform crop production. He greatly valued his time with students, in particular the Masters students, who loved him.”

Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Sloan added: “It is with deep sadness that I learned of Simon’s death. I knew of his reputation in technology and innovation before joining Harper Adams and could see the profound impact he had had on the University’s confidence and reputation in this area.

“You can see how far this area of precision technology and automation has developed through Simon’s work, something in which we are continuing to invest. The University was honoured to see this work recognised through a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

"I have been inspired by how many colleagues and former students have spoken with fondness about Simon and his contribution to the University and its reputation.

“We will find an appropriate way to acknowledge Simon and his contribution, with (his wife) Chrissy and his many friends and supporters, at an appropriate point in the future."

For the full tribute, visit