Major funding boost for IAG and the University of Essex
The University of Essex has received a major funding boost to support its world-leading plant productivity research. The major funding boost will be used to create a state-of-the-art indoor crop growth facility: Smart Technology Experimental Plant Suite (STEPS).
As major a contributor to the project, pioneering agricultural technology company, Innovation Agri-Tech Group (IAG), will be installing its innovative and patented GrowFrame™ modular system. This uses aeroponic irrigation and closed loop water recycling to provide water and highly precise nutrients without pesticides. This method has also been proven to produce a healthier root system and superior crop growth.
Independent grant-making charity, The Wolfson Foundation has pledged £1 million to support the development of the STEPS facility at Essex’s Colchester Campus to explore how best to future-proof crop production in a changing world. At the forefront of plant productivity research, the University of Essex has one of the longest established plant physiology and photosynthesis groups in the UK.
Chief Executive of The Wolfson Foundation, Paul Ramsbottom Said:
Through the installation, the University of Essex will have an unrivalled facility for extended education, UK outreach, research, experimentation and knowledge transfer for the real-world application of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA).
Innovation Agri-Tech Group: Delivering Real-World Solutions
The STEPS facility will extend the activities initiated by the Essex Plant Innovation Centre (EPIC), which already has strong links working with IAG and environmental industries to deliver solutions to real-word problems.
The GrowFrame™ will be part of a wider advanced technology system, which will include Artificial Intelligence (AI), environmental sensors and water management systems. All of these technologies will be provided and installed by IAG, enabling the growth of plants in a fully automated and adjustable environment.
Sustainable Agricultural Production
In an effort to drive change in sustainable agricultural productivity, alongside building climate resilience, IAG provides solutions to conventional farming challenges, revolutionising the way we grow food on a global scale.
Project spearhead, key member of the IAG advisory board and renowned plant physiologist, Professor Tracy Lawson from Essex’s School of Life Sciences says:
Kate Brunswick, IAG Business Development Director Says:
The £3.5 million facility, which is due to open in the summer of 2023, will also include four unique environmental grow rooms.
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