Plant science group NIAB has secured £6.8m to fund the transfer of research work findings through to commercial markets.

NIAB’s “Innovation Farm” was awarded a £2.7m grant from the European Regional Development Fund with additional match-funding coming from industry and academic partners. 

The initiative based at NIAB Cambridge opened in 2010 and has already attracted almost 1,000 visitors.

It demonstrates how plant resources and crop genetic improvement can help address food security, climate change and resource conservation together with improvements in health and nutrition, a NIAB spokeswoman said. But its facilities need improving.

The new funding will help to develop a commercial hub linking science and industry, highlighting developments in plant research and transferring market-ready innovations into commercial reality as rapidly as possible, NIAB said.

It will also fund a move in 2013 to a permanent and integrated site at NIAB’s Macleod Complex with a demonstration glasshouse and an extensive series of field demonstrations.

Project leader Lydia Smith added: “NIAB Innovation Farm will broker connections between small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in the use and production of plant-derived or plant-based materials with universities, research organisations and large businesses,”

The ERDF funding aims to improve productivity, within the East of England, by helping industry to move innovation forward into the marketplace, initialising and improving links between companies which in turn will create and safeguard jobs, she said.