Growing Kent & Medway has grown its Senior Management Team with the appointment of Dr Nikki Harrison as Programme Director.

She is joining the project (led by NIAB EMR in East Malling) from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), where she was Head of Business Development. Dr Harrison is highly experienced in partnership development and supporting innovation and research in the horticultural and agricultural sectors.

Nikki has a scientific career spanning more than twenty years, and is trained in plant biology and genetics; microbiology and biotechnology, and horticultural cropping systems. Prior to joining AHDB, Dr Harrison was Senior Research Leader in Horticultural Science at NIAB EMR, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Reading.

Commenting on the appointment, Professor Mario Caccamo, Managing Director of NIAB EMR, added: “The combination of Dr Harrison’s industry research experience and her track record in delivering partnership projects epitomises what the Growing Kent & Medway initiative seeks to achieve by bringing academia, research and the industry together. We are delighted she is returning to NIAB EMR.”

Dr Harrison, added: “Thanks to the Government’s funding, matched by our partners including the East Malling Trust, it means the Growing Kent & Medway initiative is perfectly placed to establish Kent & Medway as a world-leading region for advanced horticultural production and processing of high-value, nutrient-rich foods and plant-based compounds and it is great to be able to play my part in making it a success.

“By working closely with industry we will match the partnership’s research expertise with the needs of food and drink producers to drive innovation, strengthen supply chains and boost the economy – I cannot wait to get started.”