Plans to merge three of the UK’s centres for agri-tech into one super hub for innovation and investment have been welcomed by agri-tech centre members, Jonathan Lee Recruitment.
The recruitment specialists are members of the Shropshire-based Agri-EPI Centre and have an office in its Newport headquarters next to Harper Adams University.
It was recently announced that the Agri-EPI Centre, which focuses on engineering and precision agricultural technology, will merge with Ciel (the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) and Chap (Crop Health and Protection).
As one single entity, the centres will be able to have a more joined-up approach towards innovation in farming.
The merged centres have also been invited to develop plans to establish an agritech Catapult. There are nine existing Catapults in the UK which are independent, not-for-profit, private organisations set up to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in sectors of strength.
Establishing an agritech Catapult would be an anchor for investment, enabling all the agritech sectors to draw on ground-breaking research across the Catapult network and beyond.
Jonathan Lee Recruitment joined the Agri-EPI Centre earlier this year when it opened a Telford branch, in addition to its existing offices in Stourbridge, to be closer to the agritech community it serves.
‘Fantastic news and real boost to UK’s ambitions’
The firm’s agritech recruitment specialist, Matt Johnson, said: “This merger is fantastic news and will be a real boost for the UK’s ambitions to become a science and technology superpower.
“It means those representing all sectors of agritech will be able to join forces to leverage investment, access ground-breaking research and crucially, deliver support to the many large and small enterprises across the country that are developing the technology and innovations which are transforming the food production industry.
“We’ve seen first-hand the level and quality of support that is provided by the Agri-EPI Centre and the businesses in our building alone are doing some truly remarkable things.
“The industry is booming with innovation and we’re really enjoying being at the heart of this community, helping firms find the skills and expertise they need to develop their ideas.”
Solving agritech recruitment challenges
Matt continued: “Although the rapid growth of the sector does mean there’s a shortage of candidates, we’re able to draw on our 45 years of experience in technology and engineering to find people with transferrable skills from other sectors and to develop creative and targeted recruitment strategies.
“We’re also working with start-ups who need help getting their businesses off the ground and mapping their future recruitment needs as they grow and evolve.
“Being members of the Agri-EPI Centre has introduced us to lots of businesses who need our help and on an individual level, we’re hoping the merger will open the door to many more opportunities as the members all come together to create a nationwide network.”
The newly merged business is expected to be launched in April next year.
The proposed Catapult will build on the success of the agritech centres’ work over the past seven years during which time they have worked on 350 collaborative research and development projects involving 500 businesses – from start-ups to global corporates – and delivering a value of £100m to the sector.
The agritech sector is expected to be worth £13bn to the UK economy by 2027.