Martin Collison was one of 70 people from Multi-actor projects across Europe to attend an event organised with the EU Commission at Copa-Cogeca to discuss the role that Thematic Networks have within the H202o and EIP Agro programmes in facilitating the dissemination of research and commercial best practice. Thematic Networks bring together innovative farmers and food businesses with industry, researchers, academics and advisory services to promote successful innovative best practices so that more farmers and food companies can benefit from them.
Martin Collison spoke at the IAgrM Leadership Development Programme at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) on a very snowy 1st March 2018. Taking the need for new skills to drive the agricultural sector forward as his topic, Martin was once again very impressed with the calibre of the course participants and the breadth of the course which is an excellent way to prepare delegates for future high profile careers in the industry. The course includes a series of talks, debates, visits and workshops in the UK and Brussels and was again fully booked in 2018.
Martin Collison was one of over 100 who attended a celebratory lunch at the RAF Club, London on 27th February for Team Lincolnshire. The event celebrated the success of the Team Lincolnshire initiative which has brought together champions from the public and private sectors to promote Lincolnshire as a thriving and dynamic economy.
Martin Collison was a speaker at the New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (NAAME) conference on 15th February to report on the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) sector skills plan he has written for New Anglia as part of a team led by SkillsReach. The plan sets out the priorities for skills investment in the AME sector across Norfolk and Suffolk and focuses on the need to embrace the development of industry 4.0.
The UK Space Agency has awarded £38m to 10 projects in the 2nd round of the International Partnership Programme (IPP2), including the £3.9m EcoProMIS proposal to develop decision support systems for crop production in Colombia. The bid is led by Rothamsted Research and UK start up Agricompas, with whom Martin Collison worked to write the bid.
Martin and Lynn Collison attended the SKIN Thematic Network meeting in Vienna on 18th and 19th January 2018.
The EU skin project team, which focuses on sharing best practice in developing short food chains, visited the Pyrha Agricultural School and a range of commercial businesses including farmers and food processors. The picture shows a very impressive display of food products and associated marketing campaign materials developed by the 14-16 year old students at the school, who combine their normal academic studies with practical experience in food and farming.
A Life Sciences and Bio-economy Sector Skills Plan for Norfolk and Suffolk has been published by New Anglia LEP. The plan written by Martin Collison as part of a team led by SkillsReach sets out priorities for the growth of New Anglia’s vibrant life sciences and bio-economy sector with an emphasis on how investment in skills can help to deliver growth. The plan sets out the following priorities for action:
Develop an Economic Development Plan for Life Sciences and the Bio-economy as part of the implementation of the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy.
New Anglia LEP has published a new sector skills plan for the Norfolk and Suffolk AgriFood and related Technology sector written by Martin Collison as part of a team led by SkillsReach. The plan identifies how investment in skills can help to grow this critical sector in the New Anglia region. The plan sets out priorities including:
Co-ordinate sector careers promotion
Develop new progression routes to Higher Education
Develop a new Higher Education Centre to meet the shortfall in technical Higher Education
Develop the supply of trainers to meet the needs of the sector
Develop a Workforce Development Programme to equip the sector with the skills needed for growth.
Martin and Lynn Collison attended the kick off meeting for the EU Thematic Network focused on increasing the value of the bio-economy by sharing best practice in adding value to biomass. Collison and Associates are one of 20 partners in this three year network project which received a grant of 2million euros from the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Lynn Collison is leading on both work packages to collate data on available biomass and examples of existing supply chains across Europe and the a final work package to develop a successor organisation or programme to the project.
A revised Norfolk Rural Strategy authored by Collison and Associates was launched at an event at the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham on Friday 10th November. The refreshed strategy was commissioned to update the original strategy published in 2013 to take account of the introduction of the National Living Wage, the vote to leave the EU and the relentless and accelerating march of technology. The strategy proposes five headline areas for action:
Lobbying for Support for Rural Development as the UK develops new UK administered investment programmes;
Delivering a World Class Environment to make Norfolk an attractive place to live, work and visit;
Technology Driven so that rural Norfolk embraces the opportunities technology can bring to the economy and lifestyles;
Delivering AgriFood Competitiveness to ensure that Norfolk’s food chain remains competitive in the global market and exploits new markets through adding value;
Enablers of Growth so that rural development is supported by an enabling planning system and supported with modern water, energy and communications infrastructure.