Review of the Horticulture Innovation Partnership (HIP)

As the Horticulture Innovation Partnership (HIP) reaches its third anniversary, the future direction of the Partnership has been reviewed to ensure its role in supporting an ever-developing horticulture community continues to add value.

A thorough engagement programme has captured the views of over 100 key stakeholders representing the whole supply chain for fresh produce, ornamentals and potatoes, and the major funders and providers of horticultural research and knowledge exchange services.

Three key functions have been identified as important for the future strategy of the HIP, none of which are encompassed by any other organisation. These are to facilitate:

  • The development of overarching industry and sector strategy and goals, taking into consideration known barriers to supply chain innovation and growth
  • Better alignment of funding programmes with industry strategy and goals, and
  • Collaboration between research providers and the identification of gaps in research provision.

Steve Tones, Strategy Director Horticulture, AHDB & Acting Executive, HIP, who led the review said “Most stakeholders recognised the HIP’s core function and the need for it to continue to be driven by an independent entity”.

Steve will now lead a working group to deliver an innovative new business plan and funding model for the HIP. To achieve this, a new operational approach is needed that relies primarily on the assets and business support services of partner organisations; draws minimal but secure long-term core funding and in-kind support from the major public research funders and maximises the flexible use of in-kind contributions from other HIP stakeholders.

When supported by future HIP funders and stakeholders, the HIP will provide strategic guidance, from the perspective of the horticultural industry, to other bodies to do with education and training, participation in the Agri-Tech Innovation Centres, knowledge exchange between industry and the R&D community, and assessing the uptake and impact of new knowledge and technology.

There was also strong support for other activities, but respondents felt that these could and should be partly or wholly subsumed by other bodies, notably the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), with whom the HIP already work closely.

Steve Tones says “I am pleased that the HIP’s strategic value has been so positively recognised by the stakeholders. The working group can now concentrate on rebuilding a streamlined HIP that will help the industry meet the many challenges that lie ahead”.

The working group led by Steve Tones will deliver the new business plan and funding model by March 2016.

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