HDC body bids to set research agenda

The Horticultural Development Company (HDC) must lead on defining horticulture's priorities, its director of horticulture Dr Bill Parker has insisted.

Parker said he wanted the levy-funded body to redefine itself, both to set the research agenda for the sector and become the lead body for putting it into practice.

He told last week's British Tomato Growers Association conference: "Horticulture is a fast-changing world. If a funding body like the Biotechnology & Biological Science Research Council asks us: 'What does horticulture want?' we don't really know."

He proposed an over-arching strategy development framework to define research needs. "Out of this, a cross-panel forum will commission its own projects," he said. "That will mean changes to the executive and panels."

He said another "pillar" should be its role in putting applied research into practice for the benefit of the industry. "I want the HDC to be the knowledge transfer hub," he declared. "This will require a cultural shift but it's an exciting opportunity for the industry as a whole."

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