East Malling Trust, the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) and the HTA have announced the academics who will take five new horticultural research fellowships worth £1.25m over five years.
Lord Selborne presented the awards to scientists and academics from ADAS, East Malling Research (EMR), Harper Adams and Stockbridge Technology Centre last week.
University of Reading senior lecturer Dr Ross Cameron will take up a post at Stockbridge this summer to study optimising research investigations for the growth of innovative amenity lines. He will examine pre-conditioning of plug plants to promote new flowering lines and management of container stock to increase efficiency of inputs and enhance shelf-life.
EMR senior plant pathologist Dr Angela Berrie will research succession planning to sustain UK's expertise in plant pathology. Under this fellowship EMR will appoint a young researcher to be trained and mentored by Berrie looking at control of apple powdery mildew, blackcurrant grey mould, brown rot on cherry and plum, Verticillium wilt on strawberry, and projects on diseases of stored fresh produce.
At ADAS, senior horticultural consultant John Atwood will research sustainable weed control in ornamentals, fruits and vegetable crops.
Meanwhile, senior research entomologist Jude Bennison will maintain the expertise for practical integrated pest management solutions by training and mentoring two young entomologists who will look at vine weevil control and pests of salad crucifers, strawberry and glasshouse crops.
Harper Adams principal lecturer Dr James Monaghan will manage a summer programme to develop the next generation of technical staff through three to five applied agronomy/crop production projects a year, involving UK undergraduates and industry employees focusing initially on field vegetables.
Lord Selbourne said: "These fellowships will grow our knowledge and skills. They demonstrate the partners' commitment to the future success of the industry."
East Malling Trust chairman Will Sibley said: "The fellowships are enabling our industry to develop nationally significant work and facilitate the employment and mentoring of a new generation of specialists."
HDC chairman Neil Bragg added: "The collaboration is a model that other groups can follow or add to."
HTA director-general David Gwyther said: "The ornamentals sector has virtually no other support for applied research. The industry had to act now to prevent further decline."
£1.25m: Funding for horticultural research fellowships over five years