Research fellowship fund set up to finance applied science

The Horticultural Development Company (HDC) and East Malling Trust (EMT) are setting up of a fund for awarding research fellowships.

The HDC will provide the money to establish and maintain the fund and the two groups will together agree a mechanism for the fund to operate. Four or five research fellowships of £40,000-£50,000 per year for a minimum of five years each will be created, "depending on emerging research priorities".

The HDC and EMT signed a memorandum of agreement at Fruit Focus last week. A Research Fellowship Fund will be established to provide financial support for applied science, designed to nurture the horticultural sector.

The fund, provided by the HDC, will be administered by the EMT and overseen by a governance committee to ensure research matches the needs of the industry.

Its initial membership will consist of two EMT and HDC representatives and one each from the HTA and British Protected Ornamentals Association. One representative each from ADAS, East Malling Research and Stockbridge Technology Centre will be invited to each committee meeting.

New EMT chairman Will Sibley said: "This funding will enable the industry to develop its work and to facilitate the employment and mentoring of a new generation of science specialists."

HDC chairman Neil Bragg added: "This is an extension of the HDC's commitment to develop the applied scientist capability for the industry. Without such an approach there will be no continuity of science provision for the future."

He explained that the idea was to help PhD students participate in the industry. "We're doing a lot more to try and engage with them."

- Meanwhile, the University of Reading and East Malling Research have announced a new collaboration to advance horticultural crop science research.

They have signed a memorandum of understanding as part of their ongoing commitment to further learning and knowledge.

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