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Science and Academia

Discover our science and academia partnerships; our research and development projects and latest news in agri-tech. At Agri-EPI we explore and deliver precision farming engineering, technology and innovation in UK agriculture across soil, crops and livestock. Collaborating with teams here in the UK and around the world, our focus is improving the way we farm, manage our land, livestock and farmed fish. With hubs at several leading UK colleges and universities. Find out more about our current partnerships and projects.

Partnership looks to nurture fresh crop growth with Agri-EPI tech

Agri-EPI Centre partner Cranfield University and Johnson Matthey have announced the first cohort of companies to join the Johnson Matthey Agritech Partnership Programme (JMAPP). The announcement follows a five-week global search for companies and individuals who want to develop their innovative agritech solutions. The companies will be given an opportunity to develop their product or idea within an intense programme of collaboration and scientific and management support.

Johnson Matthey Partnership programme

In an innovative new partnership programme, created by Cranfield and Johnson Matthey, more than 35 businesses entered a competitive pitch process to receive a package of advice, support and funding within a new three-month programme. The overall support for the companies will be worth in excess of £50,000 each. From a strong field, three emerging companies were chosen by experts from Cranfield University and Johnson Matthey.

The first companies in the pilot programme are:

  • Azotic Technologies, whose R&D Laboratories are based in Nottingham, is developing a unique natural nitrogen-fixing technology based on a symbiotic endophyte that could allow any crop variety to fix nitrogen directly from the air.
  • Bionema, a company based out of Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science, is working on chemical-free pest management solutions and has devised a non-toxic bio-based microencapsulation technology.
  • Water&Soil, based in Budapest, Hungary, has developed an organic soil enhancement product, which aims to improve water efficiency, whether saving on irrigation costs or enabling cropping in areas of marginal cultivation where water is scarce.

This cohort will enjoy the use of the world-class research facilities located at Cranfield, including those of the UK Government’s Agritech Centres, Agri-EPI and CHAP. The Agritech Centres’ facilities at Cranfield have recently received £10million of investment. A broad package of support – ranging from seminars, masterclasses and networking opportunities through to one-on-one mentoring – will also be on offer.

Along with access to Cranfield and its acclaimed team, Johnson Matthey’s scientists and business experts will now work with the companies to develop their ideas within a Proof of Concept framework. Johnson Matthey has a wealth of commercial and scientific expertise on offer, from research and prototyping support to scaling lab work into full commercial propositions, managing supply chains or help with navigating complex regulatory environments.

“We’re really looking forward to the next few months at Cranfield,” said Kristin Rickert, Innovation Director at Johnson Matthey.

“Johnson Matthey is committed to collaboration as part of our open innovation approach. Our ultimate goal is to help develop fresh ideas into sustainable new products and technologies. This new programme supports that perfectly and these are great ideas to work on together.”

Professor Leon A. Terry, Director of Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield University, added:

“This is an exciting time for innovation in agritech, as demonstrated by the volume, global breadth and strength of the applicants to the programme. One of the greatest challenges for the sector is creating an environment where ideas and innovations can become reality.

By combining the scientific and business expertise of Cranfield and Johnson Matthey, we are giving our first cohort the best possible chance to succeed by bringing forward their innovations to market.”

For more information about the programme visit

Source: pressroom Cranfield University

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Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

Agri-Tech partners winners of Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Agri-EPI Centre works very closely with leading UK academic institutions Cranfield University, Harper Adams University and Scotland’s Rural College. We are happy to announce that all three partners visited Buckingham Palace recently to receive Queen’s Anniversary Prize from HRH The Prince of Wales, with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

Twelfth Round Prize-Winners 2016-18

  • Cranfield University received praise for their work on soil science: large-scale soil and environmental data for sustainable use of the natural resources in the UK and worldwide;
  • Harper Adams University received praise for their work on agricultural engineering: innovative applications in agricultural engineering and technologies to address UK and global food security;
  • Scotland’s Rural College received praise for their work on dairy management: large-scale breeding research for dairy cattle producing improved milk yield and environmental benefits.
  • We congratulate all three partners for winning awards in their line of work.

Agri-EPI partners and prize winners

Cranfield University
Harper Adams University logo
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)

Queen’s Anniversary Prizes

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are a biennially awarded series of prizes awarded to Universities and Colleges in the further and higher education sectors within the United Kingdom. Uniquely it forms part of the British honours system.

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

Improving farmers’ livelihoods through better rice varieties

Agri-EPI Centre is working together with LGC, international leader in the extended life sciences sector, Bangor University and partners in Nepal (Anamolbiu and NARC) and Pakistan (NIBGE) on the improvement of food security and livelihoods for international development focused on rice productivity.

Rice varieties

For about half a billion people in Asia, most of them poor, rice provides over 50% of the caloric supply so the size and stability of the rice harvest is crucial. The simplest way to increase yields is by the breeding of new rice varieties with greater resistance to diseases and pests and improved tolerance to stresses.

The project is developing LGC’s proprietary molecular technologies (KASP) to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the developing world through better rice varieties. As a single improved rice variety can increase harvest value by millions of pounds a year, this has the potential to have a great impact in Asian countries where rice is the basis of their diet. The project started in August last year and is due to finish January 2021.

For more information, please contact our Project Team at or visit the UKRI website.

Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.