Horticultural Fellowship Awards

Horticultural Fellowship Awards

Horticultural Fellowship Awards

In response to the continuing reduction in funding available for applied horticultural research and development and knowledge transfer, the East Malling Trust (EMT), the Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture), and the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) agreed to fund up to five Horticultural Fellowship Awards (HFAs) to provide essential underpinning funding for UK-based horticultural applied researchers working in fields of study crucial to the future efficiency and competitiveness of horticultural crops grown in Britain.

This funding will help to maintain expertise in these fields of study by:


1. Supporting the continuation of the Fellow's employment

2. Enabling the Fellow to mentor the next generation of applied researchers and technical staff

3. Allowing the Fellow to unlock funding or knowledge from new sources, including European Union sources.


In 2011, following an extensive application process five horticultural fellowships were awarded by Lord Selborne on 28 April 2011.


Project: CP 085

Title: Securing skills and expertise in crop light responses for UK protected horticulture, with specific reference to exploitation of LED technology (EMT/HDC/HTA Fellowship)

Fellow: Martin McPherson

HDC Lead: Debbie Wilson

Duration: 2012 - 2017 

Project: CP 086

Title: Weed control in ornamentals, fruit and vegetable crops maintaining capability to devise sustainable weed control strategies (EMT/HDC/HTA Fellowship)

Fellow: John Atwood, ADAS

HDC Lead: Wayne Brough

Duration: 2011 - 2016 

Project: CP 087

Title: Working with the industry to develop the next generation of technical staff for the UK horticulture industry through a Summer Research Programme (EMT/HDC/HTA Fellowship)

Fellow: James Monaghan, Harper Adams University College

HDC Lead: Jim Dimmock

Duration: 2011 - 2016 

Project: CP 089

Title: Maintaining the expertise for developing and communicating practical Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions for horticulture (EMT/HDC/HTA Fellowship)

Fellow: Jude Bennison, ADAS

HDC Lead: Jon Knight

Duration: 2011 - 2016 

Project: CP 090

Title: Succession planning to sustain the UKs expertise in field and laboratory plant pathology research and development (EMT/HDC/HTA Fellowship)

Fellow: Angela M Berrie, East Malling Research

HDC Lead: Andrew Tinsley

Duration: 2011 - 2016


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Horticultural Fellowships: Frequently Asked Questions


Why are the Horticultural Fellowships necessary?
The Taylor Review, “Science for a New Age of Agriculture”, published in March 2010, recognised that although UK horticulture retained a world-class science-base in fundamental areas such as genetics and microbiology, there was concern that applied subjects such as agronomy, soil science, entomology, physiology, pathology and weed science are in danger of being lost or severely eroded.  
This concern is shared by the East Malling Trust (EMT), the Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture) and the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) who recognise that applied research is fundamental to the future health and prosperity of horticultural crops grown in Britain but have witnessed a decade of closure and significant change at many of Britain’s strategically important applied research stations, resulting in the loss of valuable research expertise. Consequently, the three organisations agreed to collaborate to support key applied researchers vital to the horticultural sector’s long-term sustainability. On 01 December 2010 the EMT, the Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture) and HTA announced that they would jointly fund a Horticultural Fellowship Award scheme. 

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How were the Horticultural Fellowships selected?
The EMT, he Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture) and HTA set up three Selection Committees to help select the strongest applications (from the 25 submitted) for a Horticultural Fellowship Award. A Science Committee (4 members) focused on the scientific quality of the application. A Governance Committee (8 members) focused on the relevance of the application to industry. The Governance Committee included growers of vegetable, fruit and ornamental crops. Both committees used the following selection criteria when assessing the application:

1. Is the field of study crucial to the future efficiency and competitiveness of horticultural crops grown in Britain?

2. Is the field of study at risk of being lost to the British horticultural applied research community, or severely eroded?

3. Is underpinning funding essential for the continuation of the applicant's employment?

4. Is underpinning funding essential for the mentoring of a successor?

5. Is underpinning funding essential for the maintenance/development of knowledge/skills essential to the horticultural industry?

6. Is the applicant an experienced UK-based applied researcher with a proven track record of delivering applied outputs in their field of study?

7. Are the described Objectives SMART (Small, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound)?

8. Are the outputs appropriate and relevant to the industry's requirements?

Through using these criteria, each application was scored and ranked in order of importance to industry. The Awards Committee used this information to decide who should be awarded a Horticultural Fellowship. This committee also ensured that the awards were balanced (balance between organisations, crops and fields of study).  

The Awards Committee members were as follows:
1. Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Chair)
2. Will Sibley (EMT Chairman)
3. Neil Bragg (previously HDC Chairman)
4. David Gwyther (HTA Director General)
5. Adrian Padfield (EMT CEO)

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How will the Horticultural Fellowships be managed?

The EMT, the Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture) and HTA are equally responsible for the management of the Horticultural Fellowship Fund and the Governance Committee will represent the interests of the three parties.  The Governance Committee  is responsible for annually reviewing, or at such intervals as it determines necessary, a Fellow’s performance against the application and any agreed objectives, aims, milestones and outputs.

The Governance Committee members are as follows:
1. Chair     Dr Bill Parker (Director of Horticulture)
2. Vice-chair    Dr Jim Quinlan (EMT science committee)
3. HTA    Tim Briercliffe (HTA  Business Director)
4. Senior academic  Prof Keith Waldron
5. Senior academic  Prof Peter Gregory
6. Industry representative  Phillip Effingham (vegetables)
7. Industry representative Ian Ashton (ornamentals)
8. Industry representative Harriet Duncalfe (fruit)

As part of the review process, the Fellow will be asked to complete a self assessment form annually and a final report at the end of the fellowship. The Fellow will also ensure that progress is presented at the annual Studentship and Fellowship Conference.

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Will the industry be able to influence the work conducted by the Fellow?
Yes. The work described within the original applications was designed to be flexible so that it could be tailored to meet the needs of industry over the fellowships’ lifetime. It was always understood by the Selection Committees that they could only ensure that the fellowships were awarded to the right applicant (in order to maintain their expertise). However, due to the diversity of horticultural crop production, the Selection Committees could not ensure that the extensive detail within the original applications was appropriate from the outset.
Consequently, the Governance Committee requested that the Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture) allocated a member of staff to lead each fellowship on behalf of the Horticulture Levy Payers.  The Leading staff memeber will aim to facilitate communication with the Horticultural Development Company's(now AHDB Horticulture) extensive network of Sector Panels, Grower Associations and Advisors to develop and steer the work throughout the duration of the fellowships.  As the fellowships cover a wide range of crops, the role is both crucial and challenging and will require careful judgement to make sure that the right people are included in any discussions.  If this approach is successful, it may influence the way the Horticultural Development Company (now AHDB Horticulture) commissions strategic work (i.e. work that addresses longer-term challenges across multiple horticultural crops) in the future.


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