It is now possible for organisations of all sizes to benefit from the accumulated knowledge of the region’s research institutes, comments Dr Jonathan Clarke, Head of Business Development, John Innes Centre. Developments such as the Agri-Tech Initiative also means there is money available to support it.
He says: “In the past there was often little interaction between scientists working in different disciplines which meant that the potential of work from one area was often not recognised by another.
“To address this, the research institutes on the Norwich Research Park have created multi-disciplinary initiatives that bring together plant biologists with chemists, microbiologists and others to look at the big picture. This is already producing new ways to increase the resilience of crops to rapid climatic change and to cope with poorer soil conditions.
“To support industry effectively requires two-way collaboration. Researchers have the expertise to mine the scientific literature for promising new approaches but industry also needs to articulate its needs.
“The funding released under the government’s agri-tech initiative is facilitating this and the exciting thing is that it is making it possible for many smaller organisations, such as growers groups, to consider accessing science for the first time.
“Through the cluster organisation Agri-Tech East, of which JIC has become a founder member, both parties are finding it easier to identify areas of mutual interest. The networking meetings are facilitating interaction between groups that would never have previously had an opportunity to meet.”
The April Pollinator “The Secrets to Successful Agri-Tech Collaborations” features a case-study of a collaboration between JIC and Nelson Country Foods aimed at improving potato storage.