Interview with Erik Denkhaus, Plant Scientist at Agrilution
Hello Erik, thank you for this interview. Please tell our readers, some about you, how you came up to get a Plant Scientist? What motivated you to get into this work?
Hello my name is Erik Denkhaus, I grew up and studied in South Africa and have been working with Agrilution for close to 5 years. I was first drawn to the vertical farming industry during my studies and the research being done into using VF to grow and harvest foreign proteins for, for example, vaccine production. Now it is all about how do we make our food systems more resilient and how does Vertical Farming fit into that picture of the future
So you come in the morning to your workplace at Agrilution, what is your typical day like as a plant scientist?
Coming to work is a little bit different everyday, it all depends on where you are in an experimentation of development cycle. A typical day would involve monitoring and gathering data from the various running experiments. We would also then be involved in how these experimental results can be implemented in a real world setting to better our product with the aim to improve the customer experience.
If I said I want to work as plant scientist, what skills and qualifications do I need to get this job?
To be effective in your role as a plant scientist in the vertical farming industry you ideally should have either a background in plant physiology or agronomy. However if you are motivated to learn any biological studies will serve you well as there is are many fields which are active in a vertical farm.
Work in the laboratory can be long as I know, how many hours do you usually work, and on what days? Do you have interns who you give the boring tasks?
The work load can fluctuate depending on when you schedule your harvesting or seeding times as these are typically the most time intensive jobs. Having said that there is never a moment when there is nothing to do, but that is what keeps the job interesting and exiting.
So after studying, learning the skills, making practice work, what salary you can expect for this position? Without to tell us your salary, in which range people who work in this science can get a salary?
Salaries are obviously very dependent on a number of factors; skill level, years of experience and location of your employer. However a typical starting salary would be in the region of €40 000 and you can only move up as you develop.
Tell me more about your research project. What are you working currently on? What impact can it have for vertical and indoor farming industry?
Currently, our main focus is on trying to provide the best system possible for a customer to grow healthy leafy greens in their home. We are working on ways to increase the growth speed of the plants while maintaining the most intense flavour. We also have our eye on the possibilities which using a controlled environment gives us, namely using the environment to direct and change the growth of the plant, be that physical appearance or chemical make up of the secondary metabolites.
How many plant scientists work at Agrilution and what are your colleagues doing?
We are currently 3 full time members and 3 interns/working students and we are all working on making the plants grow to the best of their ability in order to deliver our customers the best user experience while they grow their own Greens directly in their own home.
Thank you very much for your time!
If you has any further questions about Agrilution, feel free to contact by mail [email protected]