Cranfield University has signed a strategic co-operation agreement with Rothamsted Research, the longest running agricultural research institute in the world.  The agreement builds on the two organisations’ long-standing collaboration over the years and strengthens their working partnership. Under the agreement, Cranfield and Rothamsted will work on several new initiatives to foster science and innovation in key areas of shared expertise, in environment and agrifood. 

As local partners, Cranfield and Rothamsted will work together to deliver higher education training programmes in the UK and across the globe. Joint PhD studentships and postdoctoral research projects will be announced later in the year. The current co-operation agreement will also act as a foundation for the establishment of the Soil Innovation Accelerator, which will be based in the Lawes Open Innovation Hub, at Rothamsted Research campus in Harpenden.

Crops being watered
Green plants

Sir Peter Gregson, Cranfield’s Chief Executive and Vice Chancellor, said: “The UK government has made significant investments in agri-technology recently. Cranfield is one of the universities that will contribute to two of the new centres aiming to advance agricultural innovation, strengthening the University’s position as a leader in this area. Partnering with one of the world’s leading agricultural research organisations is a significant milestone.”

Professor Achim Dobermann, Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research, commented: “Focusing on research and relevance to industry has always been key to both Cranfield and Rothamsted as global leaders in agriculture.  We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Cranfield and it marks a really important step forward in the way that we work with universities.”

This year the government has announced the launch of two new agricultural centres: Agri-EPI and the Centre for Crop Health and Protection (CHAP). Agri-EPI will include unique facilities at Cranfield and will call upon a range of expertise from the UK’s world-leading engineering sector. Its focus will be on increasing the efficiency and sustainability of land-based industries. CHAP has secured investment over four years and will be headquartered at the National Agri-Food Innovation campus at Sand Hutton near York. The centre’s work will look at optimising return on research and development costs.

Notes for editors

About Cranfield Environment and Agrifood

For the past 50 years, Cranfield has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water and air.

We believe that environmental problems can be alleviated through technological innovation and risk management.

We are working with the UK government on two multi-million pound agricultural technology centres – Agri-EPI (The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre) and CHAP (Centre for Crop Health and Protection).

About Rothamsted Research

We are the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for over 170 years. Our mission is to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.

Our strength lies in the integrated, multidisciplinary approach to research in plant, insect and soil science. Rothamsted Research is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2013-2014 Rothamsted Researched received a total of £32.9M from the BBSRC.

About the soil innovation accelerator

The Soil Innovation Accelerator will enable faster development of novel ways of measuring soils and their functions, in order to achieve much more precise soil management of soils in agriculture and the wider environment. Acting as a hub in soil technology development, it will bring together engineers, information technologists, natural scientists, soil scientists, and business expertise. The Soil Innovation Accelerator will be a vibrant stimulating environment that attracts the best minds and generates the best ideas, fostering science, collaboration and innovation.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.