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UK: Latest innovation in fruit research on show at Fruit Focus 2023

Growing Kent & Medway, Innovate UK, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are joining forces for the first time at this year’s Fruit Focus.

The Fruit Research Innovation Hub will demonstrate how they invest in innovation for the UK’s fruit sector by supporting discovery science and its translation to enable commercial innovation.

Visitors to Fruit Focus on 12th July in East Malling, Kent, will be able to explore cutting-edge research and innovation projects funded to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the fruit sector.

On display will be the latest near-market advances in agri-technology, from spectral imaging with Artificial Intelligence to machine learning for predicting optimum fruit harvest periods. There’ll be an opportunity to see how our understanding of new and emerging pest and disease threats is moving forward. The state-of-the-art research facilities at four Kent-based organizations will also be demonstrated.

Dr. Nikki Harrison, Programme Director, Growing Kent & Medway, said: “By responding to the needs of local businesses and investing in the capabilities of our regional research organizations, the Kent and Medway region is emerging as an international leader for sustainable horticultural research.

“The Fruit Research Innovation Hub is a great opportunity to see the impact that national and place-based funding is making for both the sector and the region. The Hub will demonstrate the advantage and value to UK businesses that collaborative funding approaches can deliver.”

Dr. Katrina Hayter, Executive Director Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said: “Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are central to developing innovative ideas, and moving them from the drawing board to real life. Our Fruit Research Innovation Hub will allow us to showcase some of our success stories and engage with a range of experts and potential funding applicants from across the industry, who can come together and each play their own key role in helping to develop the food sector of the future.”

Dr. Karen Lewis, Executive Director for Capability and Innovation at BBSRC, said: “We share the ambition of growers to invest in collaborative research and development that will contribute to supporting the sector in progressing its economic, societal, and environmental goals. At the Fruit Research Innovation Hub, we will be showcasing research projects from researchers across UK universities and institutes which aim to help address some of the most pressing challenges facing horticulture and fresh produce.”

Some of the projects on display will include:

  • Fotenix Limited: integrating advanced camera hardware, 3D multi-spectral and laser-dot technology, and AI services to enhance UK food production (Innovate UK)
  • Machere Ltd: Identifying organic liquid fertilizers for aeroponic systems (Growing Kent & Medway)
  • Air-seq: a revolutionary technology developed by Earlham Institute that uses DNA sequencing to provide early warning of airborne pathogens (BBSRC)
  • University of Greenwich and NIAB, East Malling: Pheromone of Apple Sawfly, developing new tools to manage a re-emerging Pest (BBSRC)

The Fruit Research Innovation Hub will connect businesses across the supply chain with research funding opportunities and expertise, with the aim of driving innovation and keeping the sector competitive and resilient in a changing environmental and economic climate. It will also offer an important opportunity to connect the fruit industry with government funders to help inform the future direction of fruit research.

The Fruit Research Innovation Hub can be found at stand 700 during Fruit Focus, East Malling, Kent, on Wednesday, July 12. Three tours to see the research exhibits will also take place throughout the day at 10:00, 11:00, and 14:00.

Click here to register.

For more information:
Growing Kent & Medway

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