NIAB Today

Independent crop research for all

Today NIAB is unique as an independent, science-based crop research organisation, working across plant science, crop evaluation and agronomy, and ensuring these advances are transferred effectively onto farm.

NIAB’s establishment in 1919 had a major impact on the UK industry. Never before had agricultural scientists come together under one roof with the aims of:

  • promoting the improvement of existing varieties of crops in the UK
  • promoting the improvement of methods of husbandry
  • encouraging the discovery of, investigating, and making known the nature and merits of treatments, inventions, improvements and processes which may benefit the industry.

For 100 years, NIAB has worked proudly to improve agricultural and horticultural crop production, bringing together the specialist knowledge, skills and facilities required to understand the performance and quality of agricultural crop varieties and seeds.


Our scientific capabilities span the crop improvement pipeline, from the first cross through to the harvested crop and beyond. In recent decades, these core skills have enabled NIAB to expand its R&D activities into new and complementary areas of crop-related innovation, with a focus on applied, translational and adaptive research.

NIAB marks its centenary by occupying a unique space in the crop science landscape, spanning the entire crop improvement pipeline – from genetics and pre-breeding to applied agronomy, soil and environmental science, precision farming and knowledge transfer onto farm.

NIAB’s impact on 100 years of UK and global agriculture and plant science is wide-ranging with examples including:

  • the development of seed testing and certification
  • the development  of variety evaluation
  • accelerating genetic advances in plant breeding
  • the adoption and advancement of modern field trialling techniques
  • fighting the impact of yellow rust.