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16 April 2018

University of Hertfordshire joins multi-million pound partnership to benefit the UK’s agricultural industry

The University of Hertfordshire is teaming up with four leading universities across England to launch the Ceres Agritech Knowledge Exchange Partnership which will drive research, innovation and commercialisation within the agritech industry.

The partnership, which has been enabled by £4.78 million funding from Research England's Connecting Capability Fund, connects the universities of Hertfordshire, Cambridge, East Anglia, Lincoln and Reading, as well as the John Innes Centre, NIAB and Rothamsted Research. It will focus on collaborating effectively and sharing expertise and good practice, a main focus of Research England's Connecting Capability Fund.

Ceres will work with business partners to identify, build, invest in and run the most commercially viable development projects focused on the innovation needs of the agritech sector. The result will be technologies that can be exploited through licences, start-up companies and partnerships with SMEs and large agritech corporations.

Professor Darragh Murnane, Associate Dean of Business and Enterprise in the School of Life and Medical Sciences and Director of the Hertfordshire Science Partnership, said: "Agritechnology was identified as a key regional research and innovation theme in the East of England Science and Innovation Audit. The agritech sector has excellent potential to develop into a cluster of global significance by more effectively linking the industrial base with the pan-regional research talent.

"The University of Hertfordshire brings its expertise as an exemplar institution for knowledge exchange with small and medium sized enterprises to the Ceres Partnership and the establishment of Ceres comes just two weeks after Richard Harrington, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy launched the Hertfordshire Science Partnership (HSP)."

"The University of Hertfordshire has a strong track record of co-creation of valuable intellectual property through our expertise in knowledge transfer and collaborative research. Ceres provides a sector-leading opportunity for researchers in our Centre for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management to partner with business as well as leading agri-science research institutes to help drive innovation in agritechnology," said Professor Darragh Murnane.

The Ceres partnership is a continuation of the University's successful partnership with local agritech research organisations; in 2015, the University of Hertfordshire established the Centre for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management as a focus for collaborative research and education with Royal Veterinary College, Rothamsted Research and Oaklands College.

In addition to Research England's award, Ceres has also secured funding commitments of over £15 million from corporates and technology investors for further investment in high quality commercial opportunities.

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