Milk processor Dairy Crest and Harper Adams University have signed a £4m deal to build a brand-new food innovation centre.

Research teams from Dairy Crest’s Crudgington site will make the short six-mile trip to a purpose-built home on the university’s Shropshire campus.

As part of the joint project, the processor will tap into Harper’s food and farming research, while students and staff will benefit from placements and insight into the industry.

See also: British Poultry Council scholarship scheme at Harper Adams expands

Harper Adams vice-chancellor Dr David Llewellyn said he was delighted Dairy Crest’s research and technical activities were moving to the campus.

“The fact that the initiative is based around sharing expertise in education, as well as in research, is an added bonus in that we hope it will encourage young people looking at their career options to consider the huge, and exciting, opportunities presented by the industry.”

Planning permission has already been granted for the new buildings and construction will start soon.

In November, Dairy Crest’s research and technical staff will take over the upper floor of an existing university building, before moving into the innovation centre when it is completed.

Dairy Crest CEO Mark Allen said the project would be key to the business’s strategy over the next few years.

“We are already working with Harper Adams on several research projects and I am certain this will be a long-term partnership which will go from strength to strength,” he said.