About the VFUA Organising Committee

  • The Nottingham university VFUA conference team is comprised of:


     Dr Chungui Lu

    Lecturer in Post-genomics, Faculty of Science, The University of Nottingham, Programme leader for Vertical Farming-Global Food Security project

    Room C23 The Gateway Building
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    LE12 5RD
    0115 951 6293


    Dr Chungui Lu has gained a considerable amount of work experience in Plant Breeding, Plant Genetics, Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

    From 1984-94 in the Institute of Vegetable Crops, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Peking University, his research involved two National Key Research Programmes in plant breeding and plant genetics. Following a brief spell in Israel, he has spent the last 15 years in the UK. Following his PhD from Nottingham University, he took up a BBSRC-sponsored post-doctoral in the University of Wales, Bangor to study sugar sensing in barley. In 2002-05, he worked as a research fellow in the University of Bristol on a joint BBSRC project with Rothamsted Research on the effect of nitrogen supply on the wheat transcriptome and organic crops. A EU patent on the Organic Status Analysis-Organic wheat molecular marker was filed in 2004. He has recently taken up his current post as a Lecturer in Agriculture and Envirnomental Sciences. Chungui Lu has a joint research project (ICUK, Innovation China UK) with Prof. Wu Ping at Zhejiang University in China for the development of commercial genetic markers in rice for enhanced nitrogen-use efficiency.

    Recently, our Vertical Framing Jumpstart GFS project led by Chungui Lu has been funded by University.  The project focuses on the University of Nottingham developing leading-edge agricultural practice, and aims to generate a substantial revenue stream for the East Midlands. It brings together five groups whose expertise spans Bioscience, Environmental Technology, Electrical/Power Engineering and Architecture & Built Environment. The different parties have brought knowledge in their field of expertise related to growing crop in an urban environment.

    Dr Erik Murchie

    Lecturer in Crop Physiology, Faculty of Science, The University of Nottingham


    Room 306 South Laboratory
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    LE12 5RD
    0115 951 6082


    Dr Erik Murchie has 15 years experience studying the factors that regulate and limit photosynthesis in crop plants and how these interact with abiotic stress and resource use efficiency.  He graduated with a PhD from the University of Sheffield in 1994 and has closely collaborated with institutes such as the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.  He  runs an active research group with two postdoctoral researchers and several PhD students examining fundamental processes in crop plants such as light harvesting, carbon assimilation and energy dissipation and identify targets and strategies for improvement of crops in both optimal and suboptimal (stressful) environments.

    Erik has been a lecturer in Nottingham since 2006 and has led  BBSRC grants analysing photoooxidative stress in rice (2009-2012) and a multidisciplinary project analysing the role of 3D plant canopy architecture in determining light use efficiency and photosynthesis in crop plants  (2012-2015). Recently he is the academic lead on a grant from the Technology Strategy Board which focusses on the optimisation of growth and development of horticultural species using LED-based technology. This grant brings together several companies to help produce smart LED lighting that can be used in a wide variety of horticultural scenarios.

    Erik is director of the MSc course Crop Improvement and runs two central plant physiology modules ‘Plant Physiology: principles of resource capture’ and ‘Resource Capture by Crops’ He also runs the Advanced Training Partnership e-learning course for industry ‘ Resource Capture by Crops’ : http://www.agrifoodatp.ac.uk/aatp/courses/crops/resource-capture-by-crops.aspx



     Dr Gerald Busca

    Project Officer, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Nottingham

    Room A15 The Sir Colin Campbell Building
    Jubilee Campus
    Wollaton Road
    NG8 1BB
    0115 846 6960

    Graduated in physical chemistry, I follow a path in environmental technologies and became an expert in membrane filtration systems. I have gain great expertise in energy and resource efficiency through a multitude of projects over the years. Another skilled I developed is technology integration that is choosing among technological possibilities, to solve a product problem. My interest is to look at the engineering and business aspects of environmental issues. I am particularly interested in sustainability of technologic solutions, processes and businesses.


    Prior joining the ETC, I gain a good experience in waste treatment technologies and worked as a team leader for a waste collection company in France. My role is to establish close relationship between businesses and the University. I use my scientific back ground and engineering skills to understand my clients and offer solutions or support to develop a solution. I specialise in managing collaborative projects, provide consultancy and perfect the art of being an interface between academia and businesses.


    Other projects where the Environmental Technology Centre has been involved and that may be of interest for this work are:


    ·         The improved yield from growing bean sprouts in recycled waters
    ·         Removal of root inhibitors from potato washing waters
    ·         Water saving measures on a carrot de-stoning, washing and sorting plant
    ·         Sucrose recovery from a sweet production line
    ·         Heat recovery from a pea processing plant
    ·         Use of read beds for water treatment
    ·         Water heat and chemical recovery of egg processing wash waters
    ·         Clarification of beer bottoms
    ·         Concentrating white wine sugars
    ·         Microbial fuelcell
    ·         Development of a bio-refinery with mixed municipal waste as a feed stock


    Additional project support to ensure harmonious Nottingham – Chengdu engagements and discussions will be provided by Jason Feehily and Min Rose, who has developed strategic relations with both companies and government organizations in Sichuan Province. They will work to continue the strong business and civic links that exist between Sichuan Province and Nottingham, East Midlands.


    Dr Mark Gillott

    Chair in Sustainable Building Design and Co-Director of the Institute of Sustainable Energy Technology at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham.

    Room B36 Lenton Firs House
    University Park
    NG7 2RD
    0115 84 67677

    Professor Gillott has over 18 years research experience in sustainable building technologies and design. His current research interest in vertical farming and urban agriculture is focussed on how to minimise energy/resource use when integrating the systems into the built environment, from city scale to individual buildings (both new build and the adaptation of existing stock). His research portfolio to date is in excess of £3 million from RCUK, Technology Strategy Board, EU and Industry. Prof Gillott lectures on renewable energy and environmental design to undergraduate and postgraduate Architecture and Engineering students. He has presented professionally accredited CPD and when the UK Government launched the ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ – the UK roadmap for the delivery of zero-carbon housing by 2016, he was invited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to deliver National CPD on the “Code” and zero-carbon housing. Prof Gillott’s work is widely published and he has presented numerous papers relating to his research at national and international conferences. He has also presented his research work internationally and nationally through television/radio media and his research work has been exhibited at the National Science Museum in London.