Kent is part of a consortium that has been awarded £18 million for a new project to strengthen the competitiveness of Britain’s horticulture, food and drink industries. Growing Kent and Medway, led by horticultural and agricultural research institution NIAB EMR, will receive this government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund.
The University will receive £3.14m of the project funding to develop a multi-disciplinary research and training programme to improve the region’s Agri-Tech capabilities. Kent’s School of Biosciences, School of Economics and Kent Business School will collaborate alongside Kent businesses to enhance the future of horticulture and agriculture in the county. The Schools will appoint six independent research fellows to develop the programme and work with regional partners.
Professor Colin Robinson and Dr Alessia Buscaino of the School of Biosciences led the proposal for the funding with strong support from Kent Innovation and Enterprise. The other co-investigators are Professor Jeremy Howells, Professor George Chryssochoidis and Professor Ben Lowe from Kent Business School and Professor Alastair Bailey and Professor Iain Fraser from the School of Economics.
Carole Barron, Director of Knowledge Exchange & Innovation at Kent, said: ‘This is a huge boost to enable further research capacity and drive innovation within the sector. The University of Kent looks forward to collaborating further with partners in a joint effort to strengthen the regional economy.’
Professor Robinson, said: ‘We are delighted to be playing a pivotal role in the development of agri-tech in Kent, and are excited at the prospect of developing an operation that combines the expertise of different Schools within the University.’