A BioCity Nottingham based scientist hopes to create jobs and retain top talent in Nottingham by making the city a major centre for a sustainable new form of farming – after winning a scholarship awarded by the Nottingham Post.
Dhaval Patel, of BioCity-based firm Azotic Technologies, hopes that studying an executive master of business administration (EMBA) course at Nottingham Business School will enable him to transfer scientific research that creates biofertlizer into profitable products for agriculture.
The 35-year-old won the Nottingham Post Executive MBA scholarship, which will fund half the tuition fees of the £15,900 part-time course at the school, part of Nottingham Trent University.
The programme aims to improve professionals' management knowledge and leadership capabilities, enhancing their career opportunities.
Dr Patel works at BioCity-based firm Azotic Technologies, a company in one of Nottingham's priority sectors – bioscience – which wants to create a globally-available biofertilizer product.
He said: "As a scientist I'm so passionate about my work but the lack of understanding on the business side can be a limitation.
"I feel that if I want to grow and achieve my ambition, I need to understand more aspects of the business.
"I'd like to take on more of a commercial role and this is where the EMBA helps me to develop myself so I can bring together my technical perspective and commercial awareness.
"Overall, a broader picture will help in giving strategic vision to my project that is in alignment with the business and market alike.
"Eventually I'd like to see myself in a leadership role. It's a start-up company so there will be a lot of opportunities available in different sectors as and when it grows."
Dr Patel, who studied a PhD in plant sciences at the University of Nottingham, has worked at Azotic Technologies since September 2014 as a scientist.
The company, which has its head office in Chorley, Lancashire, employs 14 staff at BioCity and aims to address the problem of nitrogen pollution by specialising in products that reduce the amount of nitrogen applied to crops
It is currently conducting trials for N-Fix. It contains biofertilizer, a natural substance containing micro-organisms rather than potentially harmful chemicals to fertilise soil and grow crops, in the hope of creating a globally licensed product.
Dr Patel, who has plans to eventually start his own consultancy business, added: "The fact there is currently no global product provides a huge upside for players within this industry, not only product development but creating a wealth of knowledge that can give rise to new opportunities for individuals and organisations.
"Nottingham is at the forefront of bioscience and BioCity provides fantastic opportunity for business and science collaboration.
Dr Patel is the second person to win the scholarship since the EMBA course was re-launched last year, following in the footsteps of Helen Taylor, who owns urban landscape design studio Hosta Consulting, in Cobden Chambers.
It starts on January 25 and this year's intake will include 18 students from a range of large and small companies, including BP
Students will attend lectures on an infrequent basis while working full-time.
Dr Phil Considine, principal lecturer and EMBA programme leader at Nottingham Business School, said: "Dhaval has clearly got a very strong academic background and is performing a key role within his organisation.
"It's a cutting-edge biotechnology business that's bringing really high-quality jobs to Nottingham.
"The ability that Dhaval will have to develop the business and create more hi-tech jobs will not only benefit Dhaval and his company, but also the university and city by helping to retain high-quality graduates."
Nottingham Post editor and publisher Mike Sassi added: "The Post is really proud to help people like Dhaval and their work as they bring great credit and kudos to Nottingham.
"We hope that the skills and experience the EMBA students pick up while they're at Nottingham Business School will help them to create jobs and benefit the local economy in the short and long term."