Innovation starts with understanding the problem. By creating opportunities to get farmers involved earlier in agri-tech developments – in both the lab and the workshop – Agri-Tech East has stimulated a range of exciting collaborative projects. Now its work as a ‘Knowledge Catalyst’ has been recognised with an award at the EDP Business Awards.
Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-Tech East – who received the award last night (Thursday) with Becky Dodds, Agri-Tech East Events and Membership Manager – says she is delighted to accept the award on behalf of all the individuals and organisations that have got involved in building a vibrant agri-tech cluster.
She says: “We have members at all points of the value chain and this is removing the obstacles to collaboration.
“It is much easier to ask a researcher about their work, or talk to head of sustainability at Kelloggs, if you have seen them speak at an informal regional meeting and had a chat with them over a coffee.
“Identifying those with the problems and bringing them together with others that have potential solutions is the exciting part and we are now seeing a number of initiatives emerging from this work.
“To win the Knowledge Catalyst Award is brilliant as it recognises the work of all these individuals that are getting actively involved and also the economic benefit that the cluster will return to the region.”
Many of the collaborations began after early-stage companies pitched in the ‘Start-up Showcase’ at the annual REAP conference – held in 2016 on Wednesday 9th November.
Example collaborations with business benefits facilitated by Agri-Tech East include: soft robotics and predictive crop modelling for fresh produce, RFID tagging for stock and crop management, new crop growth and protection chemistries, use of temperature to regulate plant development and helping a number of companies gain investment.
Interactions have also resulted in attracting companies from Chile, Australia, Kenya and Latvia to establish bases and partnerships in the region.
“Agri-Tech East’s commitment to the collection, sharing and harnessing of knowledge has helped to build a community,” the judges said ahead of the EDP Business Awards ceremony.
Mustard TV have produced a short ‘highlights’ video of the evening, including a comment from Belinda at about 1 minute 30 seconds into the video, which you can view on their Youtube channel at this link.
Find out more about REAP here.