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Dr Lydia Smith joined NIAB in 1997 with a broad remit to expand the research base. She developed and led Novel and Non Food Crops Research for 10 years and still contributes to this area. Her interest in diversification of farm species has led to interactions with and between academics and business through R&D demonstration events and initiatives such as the Cambplants Group. A plant ecologist by training, she initially worked on reclamation of damaged or contaminated land to agricultural/amenity use. Dr Smith applies her experience in plant microbial interactions and application of ecological principles to farmed environments.
It was clear that farmers and other stakeholders needed a source of information relating to the botany, agronomy and application of new crop species. Innovative research programmes in mainstream agricultural food production often lacked an effective pipeline for translation of research to products; including information transfer and discussion with users. To meet this need, Lydia set up NIAB Innovation Farm, to provide a forum for research and innovation providers to interact directly and to engage with students in the longer term. The Innovation Hub is a natural progression; providing physical space and assistance for piloting or testing innovations in close partnership with the grower community when needed.
Denise Elliott joined NIAB's Crops and Agronomy Department in 2012. She has 10 years' experience of working in plant science and agriculture, 12 years of running her own international business and has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Toxicology.
As Industry Liaison Manager for Innovation Hub, Denise develops contacts with, and then supports, food related businesses with ideas and projects based on waste reduction, recycling and efficiency. She also makes links between growers, industry, research and academia. Denise is the first point of contact if you are interested in working with the Hub.
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Vivien is the first point of interaction with those wishing to use the site or interact with other SMEs and Hub users. If you are interested in becoming a Hub Club Member please call or send an email.
With a broad background in commercial and academic life, Vivien is Office Manager at the Eastern AgriTech Innovation Hub and in charge of the general coordination of the Hub, administrative support as well as arrangements for meetings and events. She works closely with all of her team members. Vivien's main responsibility is to manage the Innovation Hub so that it is a friendly and safe working environment, which supports SMEs and their daily research/development needs. Additionally, Vivien assists Dr Lydia Smith with the day to day running of projects and funding on food related/ agricultural projects at the Eastern AgriTech Innovation Hub.
Graham joined NIAB in 2019 as a research scientist specialising in protected horticulture. His PhD was undertaken with the Horticulture and Plant Product Physiology Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, focusing on improving C3 photosynthesis to increase crop yields. Graham has more than 15 years of experience in academic research in diverse areas of seed, plant and soil science, as well as silviculture. He has designed and constructed hydroponic systems and high-output LED arrays for Universities in South Africa and the Netherlands. Graham has an active interest in the application of programming and electronics to commercial crop production.
At NIAB, Graham is currently focused on conducting research on hydroponics systems and leafy salad crops for the EU Interreg project Hy4Dense, which involves growers and academic partners across the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Innovation Hub can be reached from the A14 near Newmarket to the South and the A10 near Ely to the North. From the A142, turn into Hasse Road. You will find us 2.1 miles (4 minutes drive) along Hasse Road, on the right, after G's Growers. Please take care when driving due to the undulating road surface.
Management of the Hub is led by Dr Lydia Smith in close collaboration with a steering group including