Meeting agri-tech enthusiast and farmer Julian Sturdy MP

Julian Sturdy MP meets the Agri-Tech Centres team
Published: January 16, 2024

Photo L to R, Dr. Peter Quinn, Chair CHAP & future merged Agri-Tech Centres; Julian Sturdy MP; Tim Bennett, Chair CIEL and Phil Bicknell, Director CIEL.

The Agri-Tech Centres were at Crop Health & Protection – CHAP and Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) headquarters in Heslington, York, last week to meet their local MP, agri-tech supporter and farmer, Julian Sturdy.

Julian is a member of the House of Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee and chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture.

Future Plans

We were proud to report our achievements since our establishment in 2015/6, to outline our plans to merge and our future ambitions as a single organisation to create innovative solutions to the sector’s most critical challenges.

Since their establishment in 2015/6 the UK Agri-Tech Centres, CHAP, CIEL and Agri-EPI Centre, have created networks comprising experts and industry involving more than 450 organisations, including research institutes, SMEs and multinational companies.

Together, the three Centres employ ca. 130 expert staff, have invested in world-class facilities through support from Innovate UK across the UK – covering all agri-food sectors – and have been involved in bringing valuable innovations to the marketplace, with many more in the pipeline.

Challenges facing the agri-food sector

The challenges facing the UK and global agri-food sector are complex and critical. Food and farming are influenced by economic, climate and policy pressures, and innovation and adoption remain a challenge. Four main trends underline the urgent need for the generational change required in UK and global agricultural production and will drive the new organisation’s strategy:

-Food security
-Disease & pest pressure
-Labour & productivity

It takes a long time to bring agri-tech innovation to the marketplace and the sector requires long-term investment to de-risk the process. The agri-food sector does not have the luxury of time to develop innovative solutions.

How we must respond

To respond to these complex and interlinked challenges, whilst driving sustainable economic growth we must integrate technologies to create globally competitive systems, create new agri-tech for scale-up and ensure the appropriate skills are available for the future.

Our new company will continue to work in partnership with industry and wider stakeholders to connect the innovation system, deliver world-leading agri-innovations that sustain the environment and society and maximise global opportunities.

To find out more about what the Agri-Tech Centres do and to work with us, get in touch: