NIAB is a major international centre for plant research, crop evaluation and agronomy – a unique national resource, with nearly 100 years of experience and an internationally recognised reputation for independence, innovation and integrity.

With headquarters in Cambridge and regional offices across the country, NIAB spans the crop development pipeline, with the specialist knowledge, skills and facilities required to support the improvement of agricultural and horticultural crop varieties, to evaluate their performance and quality, and to ensure these advances are transferred into on-farm practice through efficient agronomy.

Genetics and Breeding

NIAB’s team of research scientists have in-depth expertise across a wide range of technologies including a commercial crop transformation service. The prebreeding platform includes a team of commercially experienced breeders operating over a range of cereal and novel crop targets focused on increasing the long-term genetic potential of crops. The work is supported by BBSRC and other government agencies, often in partnership with industry. It underpins and supplements the commercial plant breeding industry by providing a link to upstream genetic research.

Varieties and Seeds

NIAB’s traditional core business is statutory variety evaluation, seed certification and seed testing, supporting the delivery of Plant Variety Rights and Seeds legislation. This includes providing expert phenotyping skills, testing facilities, analytical services, and seed certification training in agricultural and ornamental crops. Activities include servicing contracts on behalf of Fera, the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) and national PVR offices.

Crops and Agronomy

As NIAB TAG and NIAB CUF they carry out independent variety and agronomic research, alongside specialist field and laboratory services, and deliver information and expertise directly to farmers, growers and industry; individual contractors; and commercial customers. Research is funded from charitable, levy or government and industry sources, often in collaboration with partner organisations and institutions, and by NIAB TAG and CUPGRA members.


In early 2016 East Malling Research became part of the NIAB group. Based in Kent, NIAB EMR is internationally renowned for its top fruit and soft fruit crop research, complementing NIAB’s scientific expertise in arable crops, potatoes and ornamentals. It has capabilities in horticultural and environmental science, including world-leading expertise in plant breeding, soil science, water use and biological pest control.

Member's Area/s of Interest

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