Fruit Research Innovation Hub will be one of many highlights at Fruit Focus in July

Press release

Growing Kent & Medway, Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will combine forces for the first time at this year’s Fruit Focus on 12th July.

Visitors to the show 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.

A major highlight will be the Fruit Research Innovation Hub, which will showcase how investments are throughout the UK’s fruit sector that support discovery science and help enable commercial innovation.

Also 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. Attendees can get an understanding of new and emerging pest and disease threats, as well as a look at state-of-the-art research facilities at four Kent-based organisations.

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

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 fertilisers 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)

Dr Katrina Hayter, Executive Director, Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said: “Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are central to the development of innovative ideas, and moving them from the drawing board to real life,” said Dr Katrina Hayter, Executive Director of Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK. “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.”

The Fruit Research Innovation Hub, at Stand 700, will connect businesses across the supply chain with research funding opportunities and expertise. The goal is to drive innovation and keep the sector competitive and resilient in a changing environmental and economic climate. Attendees will be able to connect with government funders to help inform the future direction of fruit research.

“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,” Dr Karen Lewis, Executive Director for Capability and Innovation at BBSRC, said. “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.”

Three tours to see the research exhibits will also take place throughout the day at 10:00, 11:00 and 14:00. Register for your free place.



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