An invention by a student who died before completing her PhD could help save millions of lives in the world's most deprived countries.
Ex- bus driver Kathy Davies, who died last year from ovarian cancer, never saw her idea come to fruition. The 53- year- old mother-of-three created waffle-like mats made from Borassus palm tree leaves that are pinned to the ground to protect crops, prevent soil erosion, and stop water pollution.
Her tutors at Wolverhampton University took forward her work under a European Union scheme after her death last year and the £1.4 million project will now be piloted in ten countries.
She was awarded an honorary PhD, which was collected by her children in September.
Dr Colin Booth from Wolverhampton University said the project, could help to save millions of people from poverty caused by poor crop growth.
He said: "In developing countries the ground is very uneven and the slopes are usually bare so when it rains the top layer of soil gets eroded and runs down into the rivers. One solution is to put boards down but the plants are unable to get the necessary water so the mesh design that Kathy made is the best alternative."
Her tutor and project co-ordinator, Professor Mike Fullen, said: "Kathy was a remarkable woman and this important project couldn't have happened without her vision."
Her eldest daughter Dione, a student nurse aged 26, said: "Mum would be so proud to see her dream come true."