PhD Scholarship in Sources of Innovation in the Fresh Produce Industry


Project summary

It is acknowledged that the UK has strengths in the elements vital to support the growth of the fresh produce sector, including institutes and university departments at the forefront of areas of research vital to agriculture and related technologies, and innovative and dynamic farmers, food manufacturers and retailers. Despite this, UK agriculture’s productivity growth has declined relative to our major competitors. This has been linked to a decline in the uptake of new technologies.
There are a number of factors which have been associated with hindering the UK in developing and using innovation and new technologies, including the regulatory regime and skills gaps. There has been a growing perception that many of resources being put into biological and agricultural research, particularly fundamental science, are not resulting in commensurate gains in new products and technologies. The issue is not peculiar to the agriculture and food industries and has been raised in the context of medical research. The term ‘translational research’ has been used increasingly and this describes the process by which early-stage innovations are advanced to the point where they become attractive for further development by the industry.
The Food Research Partnership “issues group” on translation of research into use posed the following question in 2010: How can the translation and exploitation of food research be improved, and what is the balance of roles between public and private sectors? The National Horticulture Forum was asked to contribute to this study and they produced a short paper identifying innovations which have come into practice over the last 10-15 years in the strawberry crop and the Brassica crop and their technological origins and processes of research translation.
The interest in, and activity associated with, improving the delivery and uptake of innovation has increased considerably in more recent times, culminating in the launch of the UK Agricultural Technologies Strategy on 22 July 2013. More specifically, for horticulture and potatoes, the aim of the newly-formed Horticulture Innovation Partnership is to provide a ‘think tank’ to scope out strategy to meet the technical requirements for the horticultural industry. It will be a point of contact for the supply chain and will support the development and exploitation of scientific opportunities.
Project code:
CP 131
01 May 2014 - 30 April 2017
AHDB Horticulture
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:


CP 131_Report_Annual_2015 CP 131_Report_Annual_2016 CP 131_Report_Final_2017 CP 131_GS_Annual_2015 CP 131_GS_Annual_2016 CP 131_GS_Final_2017