Horticultural science was given a boost this week with a cash injection of more than £50m from the government.
The money is being split between HRI Warwick and East Malling research following the restructuring of Horticulture Research International.
Around £12.3m goes to East Malling over six years for R& D and £36.2m goes to Warwick HRI over an eight-year period.
Launching last week, Warwick HRI said it was looking to expand its brief. This will include R& D in food processing, pharmaceuticals and health products, said Professor David VandeLinde, Warwick University’s vice-chancellor. The
process will be driven by its director Dr Simon Bright, formerly head of technology interaction at Syngenta, where he has led research on the application of genomics and biotechnology to crops. Speaking at the official launch of Warwick HRI, due to take effect from April 1, VandeLinde said the new group would be intent on developing its international portfolio in association with university departments.
Government food minister Lord Whitty said he looked forward to Warwick HRI developing commercial synergies with the horticulture industry, with great opportunities in the development of biological sciences.
The government’s cash support was welcomed by the NFU. Chair of the horticulture board Graham Ward said: “The horticulture industry is anticipating renewed vigour from the essential privatised facilities at East Malling and Warwick. This should result in a regenerated and more focused research facility.”
Vic Robertson