The MoU was signed by Professor Gordon Marshall, vice chancellor of the University of Reading, and Dr Mike Solomon, chief executive of East Malling Research, at a ceremony at the University.
The newly-forged relationship opens the door for the development of joint research programmes exploiting the strengths of both organisations. This will include joint bids for funding for research and knowledge transfer, a closer involvement of East Malling Research in the University’s research on the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, and the training of the next generation of crop scientists.
The MoU will help ensure that research in horticultural crop science is economically sustainable and supported adequately by industry. The agreement also outlines how the two institutions will tackle the issues of academic standards and quality, Intellectual Property and funding over the next five years.
Dr Mike Solomon said: "This agreement is a strong statement of intent to foster genuine and mutually beneficial collaboration and one which we are confident will be well received by the horticultural sector and those organisations that support it. The MoU comes at a time when a spirit of collaboration and co-operation, rather than competition, is much needed."
Professor Gordon Marshall added: "The University of Reading's and East Malling Research's MoU brings together the complementary skills of two leading UK horticultural research providers to meet future food security challenges. Research collaboration, rather than competition, is the way forward in responding to society's and industry's horticultural science research needs. I hope that this MOU sends an important positive signal to both government and the horticultural industry."