Budget commitment of £12m for new farm innovation centre

The government is to invest £12 million in the creation of the UK’s first national Centre for Agricultural Innovation, a move which has drawn an enthusiastic welcome from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The funding announcement, which was contained in the “small print” of this week’s Budget, was described as an “exciting development” by BBSRC chief executive, Professor Jackie Hunter.

The Centre for Agri-Informatics and Sustainability Metrics (AIMS), as the new body will be called, was originally proposed by a consortium of industry and academic partners including BBSRC-funded Rothamsted Research, the University of Reading, Scotland’s Rural College and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

With funding for the development now secured, the consortium will work towards establishing the AIMS centre over the next few months, with the head office based at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden.

“Once established, the new centre will help to deliver a step change in agricultural productivity to keep the UK at the forefront of the sector,” said Professor Hunter.

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