Studentships aim to deliver quality research

The Horticultural Development Company (HDC) has awarded five new studentships intended to deliver high-quality research for the benefit of the bulb and outdoor flowers, hardy nursery stock, soft-fruit and crop-protection sectors.

The HDC-funded studentships for 2013 have been awarded across four separate institutions - East Malling Research, the University of Warwick, Scottish Agricultural College and the James Hutton Institute. They comprise four three-year studentships and one four-year funded Walsh Fellowship in partnership with Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority.

The aim of the scheme is to address the loss of horticultural courses and the consequent reduction in suitably qualified people entering into and serving the continuing needs of the industry.

HDC head of research and development Jon Knight said: "The consensus of the approval board was that the successful studentship projects all demonstrated clear relevance for the profitability and sustainability of the horticulture industry.

He added: "Each of the successful projects will deliver applied research that has both benefit and impact, whilst investing in highly-skilled new talent to help to underpin the long-term needs of the sector."

The HDC has also produced a fact sheet on the use of chemical plant growth regulators on protected crops and released the latest edition of the HDC Practical Weed Control for Nursery Stock grower guide.

This has been fully revised to take into account product changes, recent HDC-funded work and all relevant changes in legislation.

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