NIAB is at the centre of innovation in crop science. Established in 1919 to assess the merits of varieties and seed quality, NIAB has grown in size, expanding its cropping and research expertise to the extent that it is now a major international research organisation in plant science, crop evaluation and agronomy.

With expertise in genetics and breeding, varieties and seeds and agronomy, NIAB works on a wide range of crops from cereals and oilseeds to potatoes, ornamentals, nonfood crops and top and soft fruit. We produce new genetic diversity in pre-breeding material for arable crops, as well as plant breeding services for the fruit sector.

NIAB is unique in being an independent science-based research organisation with a very large farmer and industry based membership who help to ensure that research outcomes are transferred into practice. NIAB also runs two incubator centres, Barn4, based in Cambridge and the Eastern AgriTech Innovation Hub near Soham. These provide start-ups and SMEs with facilities and the opportunity to interact directly with NIAB.

Harper Adams University

Harper Adams University is the leading specialist university tackling the future development of our planet’s food production, processing, animal sciences, engineering, land management and sustainable business. Harper Adams University is doing this by delivering high quality teaching and applied research for the agri-food and rural sector.

James Hutton Institute

The James Hutton Institute is a well-respected and globally recognised research organisation delivering fundamental and applied science to drive the sustainable use of land and natural resources. It undertakes research for customers including the Scottish and UK Governments, the EU and other organisations worldwide. The James Hutton Institute operates a commercial subsidiary, James Hutton Limited, which provides competitive advantage through science and technology, including consultancy and analytical services for research and commercial purposes. The Institute takes its name from the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment scientist, James Hutton, who is widely regarded as the founder of modern geology and who was also an experimental farmer and agronomist.

De Montfort University

De Montfort University has developed OPTIcut, a cutting-edge web-based decision support system offering precision agriculture in the banana business. It uses state of the art artificial intelligence and 3D image processing algorithms providing optimized cutting strategies and fruit profiles tailored to each farm. Banana hands are cut into clusters for packing. This generates variable amounts of fruit waste depending on the cutting strategy used.

Cutting strategies are currently based on human experience and their number can be exponential. Therefore, there is a clear need to produce data driven optimized cutting strategies which can minimize waste and maximize profit. OPTIcut also offers producers the capacity to estimate the amount of fruit available in every farm (fruit profiles), per type of cut and to record fruit damage to make strategic decisions. We are currently looking for ways to promote OPTIcut and attract investors and funding opportunities.

Cranfield University

Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university, creating leaders in technology and management. We work closely with business, industry and government across the world. Through our industry partnerships, applied research projects and our executive education and professional development programmes, we work with over 1,500 companies and organisations. We are focused on the specialist themes of aerospace, defence and security, energy and power, environment and agrifood, manufacturing, transport systems, and water. The Cranfield School of Management is a world leader in management education and research.


Leading the next-generation of high-tech food production, GrowUp uses plants, science and cutting-edge technology to solve problems in food production, improve growing conditions and both food taste and longevity. Launched in 2013 with an aquaponic urban farm in a shipping container, GrowUp founders Kate Hofman and Tom Webster now oversee commercial-scale production of vertical and hydroponic farms.