"It will be an adventure."
So says Solis Norton, of Port Chalmers, who has been named a 2018 Nuffield scholar, along with Simon Cook (Te Puke), Andy Elliot (Nelson), Turi McFarlane (Banks Peninsula) and Kate Scott (Central Otago).
He expected it would be a very busy time but was looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.
Dr Norton grew up in Dunedin's Northeast Valley and went to Massey University, where he completed a bachelor in agricultural science degree in 1996, a masters degree in applied science and then a PhD in the epidemiology of Johne's disease in New Zealand dairy herds.
Part-way through that, he became interested in energy and decided, when he completed his PhD, to "have a wee look at that".
Returning to Otago, he looked at energy use in farming systems, through an involvement with the Otago Energy Research Centre and the Centre for Sustainability.
He was one of the "number crunchers" for the Agricultural Research Group on Sustainability (Argos), a joint venture between the AgriBusiness Group, Lincoln University and the University of Otago. It was a role he loved.
Argos studied organic, conventional and integrated farm systems and aimed to investigate the pathways to sustainable agriculture, comparing economic, environmental and sociocultural dimensions of land-based production in New Zealand.
Dr Norton then joined the New Zealand deer industry as project manager for the newly-established national programme against Johne's disease.
Huge inroads had since been made and those in the deer industry had done a "fantastic job", he said.
The energy aspect had always been "gnawing away" in the back of his mind and he received an Agmardt leadership award in 2014 which allowed him to travel to the United States and visit some energy experts.
The Nuffield scholarship was an opportunity torevisit that, especially with a few years of industry experience. He wanted to look at how to manage farms through energy constraints, whether social or physical.