NIAB Innovation Farm wins Bentley Nelstrop Medal

14 Feb 2012

The Bentley Nelstrop Medal for Enterprise and Innovation

Congratulations to the NIAB Innovation Farm team who have been awarded the 2012 Bentley Nelstrop Medal.

The in-house award celebrates exceptional contribution to innovation and enterprise by an individual or a team from within NIAB and NIAB TAG – values that the Innovation Farm team has more than exceeded since the project was launched in 2009.

Former NIAB Trustee Bentley Nelstrop and Professor Lawrence Weaver, grandson of NIAB founder Sir Lawrence Weaver, awarded the medal to NIAB Innovation Farm project leader Lydia Smith at the NIAB Founders Day event on 10th February.

Joining her were Claire Pumfrey, John Hutchins and Sean Butler who, alongside Kate Parsley, have been chiefly involved in the development and success of NIAB Innovation Farm over the past two years. However, many other colleagues have been contributed including Ron Stobart, Chris Dixon, Andy Greenland, Richard Lockwood, Nick Watson and the field team, especially Howard Froment, Shaun Coleman, Sue Mann, Hannah Parish and Steve Morley.

2012 Bentley Nelstrop Medal winners

 Claire Pumfrey, John Hutchins, Sean Butler and Lydia Smith celebrate NIAB Innovation Farm's win


NIAB Innovation Farm has so far attracted more than 1,000 visitors through its combination of workshops, seminars, and field and glasshouse demonstrations and open days, with numbers set to increase with the development of a new visitor centre and field and glasshouse site at the Macleod Complex.

Initially focused on providing a demonstration and technology transfer platform for the UK food and farming supply chain the project is now transforming itself into an interactive commercial hub linking science and industry, highlighting developments in plant research and transferring market-ready innovations into commercial reality as rapidly as possible. All this has been made possible following the awarding of a £2.7 million European Regional Development Fund alongside match-funding from industry and academic partners, thanks to some hard work by Lydia and her team in developing the grant application.

Also nominated:

Honourable mentions must go to the Vicia Faba team, nominated by Jane Thomas, and the NIAB TAG Sutton Scotney Trials Team, nominated by Justin Bidwell.

The Vicia Faba team were nominated for scientific advancement in Vicia faba genetics and breeding, and for demonstrating a whole organisation approach to R&D, and include Donal O’Sullivan, Amanda Cottage, Jane Thomas, Krystyna Gostkiewicz, Anne Webb, Simon Kightley, David Smith and Clare Butler Ellis. The trials delivery team have also played a critical part.

The NIAB TAG Sutton Scotney Trials Team were nominated due to their success in combining the former TAG and NIAB trials operations into a single unified centre; the only regional centre that had to do this. The merger of two superficially similar, but culturally different bodies was considered to have been handled with equanimity, tolerance, good humour and considerable success and to be regarded as a model for other parts of the business, and an endorsement of its future operational viability.

Other nominations included:

NIAB Archivists Tricia Cullimore and Paul Thompson;Jenny Hankin, who manages the online seed certification programme ESP helpdesk; andJohn Hutchins for his wide-ranging achievements across NIAB and NIAB TAG, including overseeing the merger of DUS and Certification and managing the Huntingdon Road and Park Farm redevelopment.

Congratulations to all those who were nominated – an achievement in its own right as they were all recognised as having greatly contributed to the success of NIAB and NIAB TAG by colleagues .