11th May 2021
The partners responsible for Growing Kent & Medway, a project to strengthen the competitiveness of Britain’s horticulture, food and drink industries, have appointed Dr Nikki Harrison as Programme Director.
She is joining the project led by NIAB EMR in East Malling from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), where she was Head of Business Development. Dr Harrison is highly experienced in partnership development and supporting innovation and research in the horticultural and agricultural sectors.
Nikki has a scientific career spanning more than twenty years, and is trained in plant biology and genetics; microbiology and biotechnology, and horticultural cropping systems. Prior to joining AHDB, Dr Harrison was Senior Research Leader in Horticultural Science at NIAB EMR, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Reading.
Commenting on the appointment, Professor Mario Caccamo, Managing Director of NIAB EMR, added: “The combination of Dr Harrison’s industry research experience and her track record in delivering partnership projects epitomises what the Growing Kent & Medway initiative seeks to achieve by bringing academia, research and the industry together. We are delighted she is returning to NIAB EMR.”
Dr Harrison, added: “Thanks to the Government’s funding, matched by our partners including the East Malling Trust, it means the Growing Kent & Medway initiative is perfectly placed to establish Kent & Medway as a world-leading region for advanced horticultural production and processing of high-value, nutrient-rich foods and plant-based compounds and it is great to be able to play my part in making it a success.
“By working closely with industry we will match the partnership’s research expertise with the needs of food and drink producers to drive innovation, strengthen supply chains and boost the economy – I cannot wait to get started.”
The Growing Kent & Medway consortium is led by NIAB EMR and includes the University of Kent and the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich, alongside leading industry partners, including APS Produce, Berry Gardens Growers, Chapel Down, Gusbourne Estate, Richard Hochfeld Group, Thanet Earth, Worldwide Fruit, Geku Automation, and Smurfit Kappa.
It is one of seven national projects to drive innovation-led growth and support areas of R&D, thanks to Government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund. The project secured funding after its bid received the backing of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership, local councils and Locate in Kent.