A fresh collaboration has been announced between Growing Kent & Medway and Canterbury Christ Church University to establish connections between horticultural and food and drink businesses and experts in agri-technology.
The establishment of the Industrial Agri-Engineering Hub at the University will complement and enhance the existing endeavours of Growing Kent & Medway in research and innovation driven by businesses in the horticultural and food and drink sector.
This new partnership amalgamates all of Kent's research institutes, offering a comprehensive range of scientific expertise and capabilities to businesses, thereby bolstering growth in this crucial sector for the UK.
The Industrial Agri-Engineering Hub will leverage the University's strengths and resources, providing academic proficiency in agri-engineering, automation and manufacturing, assistive technologies, and applied data analysis and intelligence.
The Hub is situated within Canterbury Christ Church University's Verena Holmes Building, an impressive facility in the southeast that has received significant investment. Businesses will have access to the University's specialized facilities and cutting-edge technology, supporting Growing Kent & Medway's aspiration to establish Kent and Medway as a globally leading region in research and innovation for horticultural production, food processing, and climate-smart farming technologies.
Mario Caccamo, CEO of NIAB and lead partner for Growing Kent & Medway, expressed, "The collaborative partnership between Canterbury Christ Church University and Growing Kent & Medway will catalyse a transformative effect on the sustainable food production systems through agri-technology. Their expertise and facilities will assist us in reinforcing crop production management systems and production automation in our food supply chains."
"By combining the horticultural industry with their advanced knowledge of sensor technology, advanced manufacturing, and automation, we have a remarkable opportunity to revolutionize our fragile production systems, making them more resilient to the impact of climate change, labour shortages, and energy crises."
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran DL OBE, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, remarked, "I am thrilled that Canterbury Christ Church University is partnering with Growing Kent and Medway, a consortium dedicated to fortifying the horticulture, food, and drink industries of the region through research, innovation, and enterprise. The University plays a significant role in the region's economy by creating opportunities for collaboration with businesses."
"Our EDGE (Engineering, Design, Growth, and Enterprise) Hub, developed in partnership with the industry, provides a robust platform for fostering new skills and innovation for businesses, and our Verena Holmes STEM Building offers a state-of-the-art facility for experimentation, research, and collaboration. This partnership also aligns with our commitment to pursue social justice through sustainability and reflects our values of employing inclusive education and research to support our communities."