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.
The government has today published the Made Smarter Review which deals with how digitalisation will revolutionise industry in the next decade and beyond. This review which came out of the Industrial Digitalisation Review (IDR) process was led by Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens and Martin Collison was pleased to work on the Food Strand of this review which was led by Professor Simon Pearson at the University of Lincoln.
Martin Collison makes the case in Cambridge News for agritech to help address global food shortages at a time when the number of people short of food has just risen, by 38m in one year, for the first time in over a decade when the number of malnourished people has been falling. The full story is at:
The Interreg SALFAR project which looks at “Thinking green” to create a real change of perspective in farming and food producing, a change of behaviour for the consumers of food, and, for authorities, re-thinking water management and changing policies on environment and agriculture in coastal areas, held its launch meeting in Lincoln from the 25th-27th September 2017.
Martin Collison’s article in the New Statesman’s Midlands Engine supplement for the party conferences, argues that the food chain will embrace robotics to help it meet future growth challenges
The article is at: ns_midlands_supplement_sept_2017