Partnership working boosts crop science research
Release Date 28 July 2011
The University of Reading has further strengthened its research in horticultural crop science by announcing that East Malling Research in Kent has become an Associated Institution.
East Malling Research (EMR) is widely recognised as the UK's leading research centre for the horticultural industry and the new partnership will complement the expertise at Reading in the areas of diet, health and global food security.
As an Associated Institute, EMR research staff will be invited to become honorary members of the academic staff to foster greater co-operation for the benefit of national and international food and health security. The two organisations are already collaborating on aspects of the National Fruit Collections at Brogdale, which is managed by the University of Reading on behalf of Defra.
The announcement builds upon the existing relationship between the two institutions, which earlier this year saw the appointment of Professor Peter Gregory as Chief Executive of EMR and also as Professor of Global Food Security at the University.
Professor Richard Ellis, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "The University of Reading and East Malling Research bring together the complementary skills of the two leading UK horticultural research providers to meet future food security challenges. Associated Institute status will bring an even great degree of co-operation focused on shared scientific research, which we are very excited about."
Professor Peter Gregory, Chief Executive of EMR, said: "There is a strong and natural synergy between the two organisations. It is an important development for EMR as it formally links us to a university which has a strong reputation for high quality research in the land-based sector.
"It will enable us to have access to research students, library facilities and staff with both basic and strategic research expertise and perfectly complements EMR's strategic and applied research capabilities."
The University of Reading has long been involved in researching the impacts of climate change in agriculture and horticulture and remains a leader in this field with its investment in the Walker Institute for Climate Systems Research. In recent years the University has pioneered and championed the use of spectral filters and ushered in a new generation of crop forecasting techniques with the grower in mind.
Its Centre for Food Security joins together existing areas of research excellence at the University, including biodiversity, diet and health, and sustainable agriculture. Professor Gregory will be working with the Centre for Food Security Director, Professor Richard Tiffin.
Professor Tiffin said: "By strengthening our links with East Malling we have created a critical mass in horticultural crop research which will allow us to make a leading contribution to the global objective of delivering a healthy balanced diet to all, that is central to ensuring food security."
East Malling Research is widely known as a provider of top-class research serving the food chain and other sectors of the land-based industry As well as developing the first dwarf rootstocks and storage technologies, which are now used throughout the world, EMR scientists have been at the heart of improving the sector's ability to improve yields, environmental performance and adapt to the impact of climate change.
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