Last week, the HDC bulb and outdoor flowers panel confirmed the funding application, which was approved by the protected crops panel last month.
Provided the decision is successfully rubber-stamped by the council at the start of December, the project can push ahead with a further three years of research.
The centre's project co-ordinator and industry liaison Sue Lamb said it was now vital that growers get in touch to direct the work they carry out. "We need growers' input. We need them to be asking questions," she stressed. "Growers need to take more ownership and to be looking for new products."
Lamb suggested that a key function of the centre could be to revive crops no longer grown in the UK because of competition in the early 1990s.
Citing the revival of British pinks, which are now stocked by Waitrose, she said there are major opportunities for growers with ideas.
"There is a very big push for British at the moment and that provides a lot of opportunities if you do it right on a small scale. We can trial things in a rigid manner and then they can be rolled out."
Project leader Lyndon Mason echoed Lamb's sentiments, adding: "One of the key things we'd like to get over is that it is run by an industry management group and it drives the project forward. But this is an industry-wide project and we're looking for ideas. We're there to serve the industry."
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