Funding secured for NIAB Innovation Farm

19th Jan 2012

A unique £6.8 million NIAB project has secured EU funding to improve the transfer of innovative plant science from research laboratories through to commercial markets.

NIAB Innovation Farm has been awarded a £2.7 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with additional match-funding coming from industry and academic partners. 

The initiative, based at NIAB in Cambridge, demonstrates how plant resources and crop genetic improvement can help address the major global challenges of food security, climate change and resource conservation together with improvements in health and nutrition.

The new funding will help develop an interactive commercial hub linking science and industry, highlighting developments in plant research and transferring market-ready innovations into commercial reality as rapidly as possible. The project will also benefit from the building of a sustainable low-carbon visitor centre.   

NIAB Innovation Farm will also continue to provide an important demonstration and technology transfer platform for the UK farming and food supply chain, allowing visitors to understand the genetic progress taking place aimed at improving the quality and performance of major food crops, and exploring the market potential of other novel and non-food crops.

“NIAB Innovation Farm will broker connections between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in the use and production of plant-derived or plant-based materials with the research and innovation generators, such as universities, research organisations and large businesses,” says project leader Dr Lydia Smith. 

The ERDF funding aims to improve productivity, within the East of England, by helping industry to move innovation forward into the marketplace, initialising and improving links between companies which in turn will create and safeguard jobs.

NIAB Innovation Farm has already attracted nearly 1,000 visitors since it opened in 2010, with field and glasshouse demonstrations, a Visitor Centre, an online presence and themed exhibitions and workshop events. 

However, the current facilities are stretched out across the entire NIAB Cambridge site.  The new funding will support the move in 2013 to a single permanent and integrated site at NIAB’s Macleod Complex, which includes the novel visitor centre building, an air-conditioned, multi-compartment demonstration glasshouse and an extensive series of field demonstrations.

Back to List »
Share |