NIAB

This interview details NIAB, a crop science organization based in the UK. The interview is with Ros Lloyd, Head of Communications at NIAB.

Source: NIAB

What is the origin story of NIAB?

NIAB is one of Britain’s oldest agricultural science research centres. It was established in Cambridge in 1919, originally as the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, a charitable trust to promote the improvement of British crops. This was a direct response to food security issues at that time, particularly in the First World War. In practice, in the early days, this meant NIAB assessing the merits of the new commercial varieties from the recently established ‘Plant Breeding Institute’ and other emerging plant breeders, alongside ensuring seed quality. 

Seed testing and variety evaluation remained at the core of NIAB’s work for the next 70+ years, but with privatization in 1996 and a program of investment, mergers and diversification, the original aspirations of NIAB’s founder, Sir Lawrence Weaver, for the Institute to be an all-purpose scientific institution for agricultural botany, have been fulfilled. Today, NIAB is an internationally recognized leader in applied crop research and innovation, providing an integrated research and knowledge transfer hub addressing the global challenges of food production, climate change and environmental protection. 

Our scientific capabilities span the crop improvement pipeline; from underpinning research required to develop higher yielding more climate resilient crops through to the extensive trial data, agronomy expertise and advice needed to ensure these advances are transferred effectively onto farms. Truly from ‘Better Seeds: Better Crops’ to ‘Plant Science into Practice’.

Source: NIAB

What are some of the biggest challenges facing NIAB in the future?

The challenges that faced the world when NIAB was founded in 1919 still ring true today. We still need to produce healthy, nutritious, safe food for people, at a price they can afford. Which means we need further advancements to improve food security, the way we produce food, and of course, protect our climate and improve biodiversity. But productivity is key; yields must increase.

NIAB is already working in many of these areas, including crop transformation expertise, improved crop genetics research, strategic input advice and regenerative agriculture management practices. Our challenge is to ensure this work gets out onto farm, underpinning the science and helping and supporting farmers and growers in adopting new practices and techniques.

 

What is unique about NIAB compared to other similar groups?

We are ‘Plant Science into Practice’; a translational science institute, sitting between the pure academic, ‘blue-sky’ institutes and universities and the commercial agri-food industry. We have a strong farmer membership base alongside our research capabilities in plant genetics, agronomy, farming systems and data science, the largest national field trials capability, and strong research links with industry, Government and academia. This means we can provide scientific research, technical services and practical advice to improve the yield, efficiency and resilience of crop production across the arable, horticulture and top and soft fruit sectors – unique in the UK.

Plus NIAB is a not-for-profit organisation with a charitable status. We receive no core funding from the government. Instead, our diverse range of funding sources means that we can be truly commercially independent from government, industry and lobbying organizations. And we re-invest any profits straight back into future research.

What are some trends you are seeing in the agritech market?

The agritech market is evolving and maturing. Companies that are starting are more aware of the economics and timescales of the sector and its needs. This has led to changes in focus and also changes in business models. Technologies that look to be gathering pace are those associated with regenerative agriculture and crop genetics. These are in-part driven by recent legislative changes that have increased the value of solutions in these areas. There is also a trend towards data-science businesses though many of them still need to gain market credibility and answer the question of “so-what”, when a data-based insight is presented to a grower.

Source: NIAB

Any exciting announcements or projects in the future you would like to share with us?

NIAB is continuing to work on some of the most exciting and innovative projects in crop sciences. Alongside our traditional role in providing science-based guidance to the agricultural industry, we are developing additional expertise and data to support the move to more sustainable regenerative agricultural practices. We are also looking hard at less traditional UK crops through our flagship Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3) and our programs on protein crops such as chickpeas and lentils.

How can people connect with you or learn more about NIAB?

niab.com will provide contacts and background to NIAB, plus information on our wide-ranging research programs and the services we provide, alongside links to project and service specific websites. We host a range of open days and events across the year as well as attending trade shows across the UK, with booking available on our Event Hub on niab.com.

Follow us across our range of social media accounts for the latest research information and links, news, vacancies, links to employee content such as blogs, visits, on-farm initiatives, glasshouse and lab activities and project updates, open events and training days, and agronomic and technical updates. 

niab.com   info@niab.com 01223 342200

LinkedIn: NIAB

X: @niabgroup

Facebook: NIAB.UK

Instagram@ NIAB_UK

YouTube: NIAB

Asia Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download the Free Sample Report

Mark-Horler

"For a target audience that is trying to understand the basics of vertical farming, this is a quality newsletter to subscribe to"

- James Pateras, CEO, Modular Farms Australia

North America Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download The Free Sample Report

Mark-Horler

"The North America Vertical Farming Companies Report 2023 aggregates many sources of public information on many different companies so that you don't have to do the research yourself, it's worth the money and saves a lot of time"

- John Ireland, CEO, NTP Technologies

Europe Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download the Free Sample Report

Helen Andrew Spare Harvest

"As a business development manager supporting the indoor agriculture, CEA, and food tech industries, I can say Urban Vine guides and their insider newsletter provide detailed information often difficult to find online."

- Irena Lundberg, CleanTech Invest Stockholm

Middle East Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download the Free Sample Report

Mark-Horler

"As a marketing professional in the indoor agriculture industry, Urban Vine's newsletters, reports and guides are an excellent resource for keeping up-to-date with news and developments in vertical farming."

- Steven Mitchell, Product Manager, Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) UK

All Indoor Farming Company Interviews

FibreDust

May 16, 2024

This interview details FibreDust, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Andrew D Pidgeon, Director of Marketing at FibreDust. To learn more about FibreDust and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Tindle

May 20, 2024

This interview details Tindle, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Andre Menezes, Co-Founder of Tindle. To learn more about Tindle and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Wageningen Economic Research

May 16, 2024

This interview details Wageningen Economic Research, a social-economic research institute based in the Netherlands. The interview is with Coert Bregman, Horticulture Researcher at Wageningen Economic Research. To learn more about Wageningen Economic Research and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Independent Living Base

May 16, 2024

This interview details Independent Living Base, an indoor farming technology company based in France. The interview is with Pascal Benveniste, President of Independent Living Base. To learn more about Independent Living Base and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

CHAP Solutions

May 16, 2024

This interview details CHAP, a company based in the UK. The interview is with Fraser Black, CEO of CHAP. To learn more about CHAP and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Maia Farms

May 9, 2024

This interview details Maia Farms, an indoor farming company based in Canada. The interview is with Gavin Schneider, CEO & Co-Founder of Maia Farms. To learn more about Maia Farms and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

CIOPORA

May 22, 2024

This interview details CIOPORA, a global association dedicate to promote plant breeders’ innovation and protection. The interview is with Andrés Velásquez, Director PR and Communications at CIOPORA. To learn more about CIOPORA and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Purdue University

May 6, 2024

The interview is with Cary Mitchell, Professor Horticulture at Purdue University. To learn more about Purdue University and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

VoltServer

May 6, 2024

This interview details VoltServer, a company based in the United States. The interview is with James Eaves, Ph.D., Indoor Agriculture Director at VoltServer. To learn more about VoltServer and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Pathotrak

May 6, 2024

This interview details Pathotrak, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Javier Atencia, PhD, CEO & Founder of Pathotrak. To learn more about Pathotrak and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview