Cutting edge county businesses win biotech research funding

    bioA BIOTECH consortium based around Tonbridge has secured £1.9 million in funding from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council for nationally important crop research.

    Berry Gardens, the UK’s leading berry and stone fruit production and marketing group – with its headquarters in Fiver Oak Green – has joined forces with NIAB EMR, formerly East Malling Research, to fund a six-year PhD studentship programme for fruit-crop research, through a collaborative training partnership.

    The programme, due to run from October 2017 to September 2023, will consist of 16 studentships in core research areas. These include; plant breeding; plant pathology; entomology; soil science alongside plant physiology and crop agronomy.

    NIAB EMR will also partner with the universities of Cambridge, Nottingham and Reading to provide the students with top-level research expertise and facilities.

    Richard Harnden, Director of Research at Berry Gardens, said: “This pioneering partnership between businesses and research providers will provide a world-class horticultural and bioscience UK research training programme.

    “I’m confident that the new Collaborative Training Partnership for Fruit Crop Research will address the scientific challenges faced by agri-businesses, from crop production, food quality and supply, through to consumer preference and reducing waste in the supply chain.”

    Berry Gardens are joined by industry partners spanning the supply chain, and include Worldwide Fruit, M&W Mack, Univeg UK, the National Association of Cider Makers, as well as retailer Marks & Spencer. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board will support the exchange of knowledge with the industry.