NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

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NIAB Innovation Hub

Contact: Dr Lydia Smith

Key facts

Eastern AgriGate Research Hub

The NIAB Innovation Hub, near Soham in Cambridgeshire, is a unique facility for fresh produce/field vegetable farmers and growers, food businesses, and other users wishing to engage in applied research work to reduce all forms of waste in the food supply chain and improve resource use efficiency. Reducing wastage in UK agriculture is a key step in addressing the challenge of producing food in a more sustainable and efficient way. WRAP UK estimates that 16% of all food waste occurs before it arrives on retailers’ shelves.


The centre carries out fresh produce research - from soil health, seedbed preparation, varietal selection and plant spacing, right through to harvesting, processing and packaging – providing an efficient and productive research and development centre.

Research and trial activity includes:

  • Waste reduction – healthy soils, crop production, field and post harvest storage
  • Waste management – packing, processing and alternative uses and markets
  • Identifying opportunities to recycle waste or generate energy and co-products
  • Total and marketable field losses, due to weather, pests and diseases or other damage
  • Loss of quality or specification in store due to crop physiology, disease or storage conditions

The centre is also used for technology transfer events and as a centre for training and apprenticeships. Links will be forged with schools and colleges to support learning throughout the region and develop the skills required for a thriving agri-industry.

Managed by NIAB and overseen by an independent non-executive Board, this unique research and trials facility includes project management, business development, research and technical personnel with specific knowledge related to crop science, waste management and field trials.

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